LEONIA, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — Beginning Saturday, the Alexander Hamilton Bridge (the portion of I-95/Cross Bronx Expressway that spans the Harlem River Drive, the Harlem River and the Major Deegan Expressway) will undergo major construction work that will impact traffic on the East-bound (Bronx-bound) lanes of the bridge and surrounding roadways for approximately six months.
And, as drivers know, sometimes these timetables, well, lengthen. We’re just sayin’…
As painful as crossing the GWB from New Jersey is on a normal day, that commute will seem like a walk in the park as drivers and neighboring towns gird themselves for what could well be a lengthy traffic nightmare of gargantuan proportions.
Reporter Tom Kaminski from WCBS Chopper 880 is concerned about what the construction may do to other alternate routes, “Even though we have been warned about the potential problems at the GWB, I would be prepared for big alternate backup delays at the Lincoln and Holland and even as far north as the Tappan Zee Bridge.”
And if you are coming to a Yankees game from Jersey? Well, fuhgettaboutit!
1010 WINS’ morning traffic reporter Pete Tauriello, who’s been watching Tri-State Area roads for decades, is calling the potential snarl ”Carmageddon.”
Both 1010 WINS and WCBS 880 will offer expanded traffic reports to cover the likely traffic snarl so make sure you tune-in for traffic on the ones and the eights for help on the best of the routes.
The project, which costs $407 million, could have a massive impact well into New Jersey and towns there are getting ready for the influx of traffic on their local streets. Other major commuting routes home such as the northbound West Side Highway could be backed-up for miles every afternoon.
Business on the ferries is expected to increase.
“If other people don’t want to take the bridge they might start taking the ferry and that might become more crowded,” Cliffside Park resident Lauren Greene told CBS 2′s Dave Carlin.
“With our infrastructure in the condition that its in, even though this is a major project and disruptive to the flow of traffic, its something that needs to be done,” added AAA spokesman Robert Sinclair.
Construction work on the Alexander Hamilton Bridge will have the inbound George Washington Bridge merging down from its current four-lane upper level and three-lane lower level.
In Leonia, the mayor wants to restrict access to Fort Lee Road.
Police Chief Jay Ziegler said that even if they can’t restrict traffic to local use only, it’s still a bad idea to go that way.
“Even if they don’t want to apply the practice of common sense and courtesy, it’s not going to benefit them to try to drive through Leonia ’cause you’re going to sit in traffic in Leonia and then you’re going to get to the top of the hill and you’re going to be diverted back west,” Ziegler told WCBS 880′s Sean Adams.
WCBS 880′s Sean Adams Reports From Leonia
That will lead to traffic backups that could go as far as Hackensack, with towns looking to limit gridlock as a result of people trying to take shortcuts through local streets.
Fort Lee already limits access off of Route 46 and more closures are possible.
“You can rest assured, lawsuits notwithstanding, if it’s reported to me by our emergency service officials that they’re unable to get to where they gotta go, we’re going to shut down Fort Lee in certain sections, that I can guarantee,” Fort Lee Mayor Mark Sokolich said.
Cutting through the town is unfair to Fort Lee’s residents and it won’t save motorists any time, Sokolich said.
“It’s not going to improve your ride or your travel time that much by cutting through Fort Lee,” Sokolich said. “A lot of folks are going to be doing it and we’re going to try to prevent it and we’re going to be very strict about it.”
1010 WINS’ Steve Sandberg with the Fort Lee mayor
Next week, state Sen. Loretta Weinberg will hold a brainstorming session with officials from Fort Lee, Leonia, Englewood, Teaneck, and Hackensack.
Some officials have also said they think the New York State DOT should pay for the police overtime in New Jersey that will be required as a result of the construction project.
What restrictions do you think should be imposed? Sound off in the comments section below.