Anyone thinking of driving to New York City might want to keep in mind that starting Saturday a $1 billion bridge reconstruction project is going to take a major feeder out of action. And that, of course, means other roadways, like the New Jersey Turnpike, are going to get the spillover.
The work — to last two years — is being done on the eastbound lanes of the Pulaski Skyway, that massive steel bridge and elevated causeway that crosses the Turnpike about 2 miles north of Newark’s Liberty International Airport.
Opened in 1932, the 3.5 mile Skyway carries U.S Route 1/9 over the Passaic and Hackensack Rivers and is one of two major feeders to Jersey City's busy Downtown and the Holland Tunnel. The other feeder is the Turnpike Newark Bay-Hudson County Extension.
The 4-lane skyway carries an estimated 67,000 cars daily — trucks have been banned since 1934.
The big question is how many drivers will now go to the Lincoln Tunnel via the Turnpike or use alternate routes to one or the other of the tunnels.
The state Department of Transportation is recommending that motorists, use the Turnpike's Newark Bay-Hudson County Extension, on which the the eastbound shoulder will be turned into a travel lane, to get to the Holland Tunnel. Another option, the DOT says, is U.S. 1&9T (for Truck) to get to Jersey City or as an alternate route to the Lincoln Tunnel.
Repeating claims the closure will create "carmageddon," Assemblymen Joseph Cryan and Jason O’Donnell said they planned to introduce legislation that is bound to be no more than symbolic to require the Turnpike Authority to halve tolls for Newark Bay-Hudson County extention exits and the exit to U.S. 1/9T "to compensate commuters who will be forced to travel a more expensive and congested route in the interim.'
Newspapers in North Jersey are following the shutdown closely and we'll check in with them later to see what they are finding.
In the meantime, good luck or take the train.