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Three-Month-Long Commuter Alert In Effect As Construction Begins On Alexander Hamilton Bridge

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George Washington Bridge (Credit: CBS 2)

George Washington Bridge (Credit: CBS 2)

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) - A commuter alert began at midnight, and is set to last for three months.

A major construction project on the Alexander Hamilton Bridge is now under way, so get ready for some added stress and miles of backups all the way into New Jersey.

A new phase of construction on the Alexander Hamilton Bridge will crunch two lanes into one, and the effects will be felt for miles starting on Sunday.

Workers will have to remove concrete, check, repair or replace the metal support beams, and then resurface the entire roadway, CBS 2’s Amy Dardashtian reported. It’s a process that could last through October.

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“It’s going to be a mess,” one driver told CBS 2’s Dave Carlin on Saturday. “It’s going to be a mess”

Officials expect backups in the eastbound direction across the George Washington Bridge and into Interstates 80, 95 and the Palisades Parkway.

As of noon it wasn’t exactly smooth sailing for drivers on the George Washington Bridge, but no major problems were reported. The newly-shortened lane is forcing cars on the lower level to travel slower than usual, however, which may give commuters a glimpse into what may be in store for tomorrow.

This deceleration lane, which is on the western side as cars come off the bridge, was shortened from 100 feet to around 10 feet. This forces cars headed to the Major Deegan Expressway to slow down much quicker. It also causes a bottleneck, or upper-level cars to merge with lower-level cars.

It appears that drivers have heeded the warnings and taken alternate routes, as the Lincoln and Holland Tunnels had more traffic than usual on Sunday afternoon.

New Jersey officials fear a spillover into local neighborhoods.

“You can rest assured, lawsuits notwithstanding, that if it’s reported to me by our emergency service officials that they’re unable to get to where they need to go, we’re going to shut down Fort Lee in certain sections,” Fort Lee Mayor Mark Sokolich told 1010 WINS. “That I can guarantee.”

Department of Transportation officials said that the project is a long time coming on the more than 50-year-old Alexander Hamilton Bridge.

“It’s a couple of months of pain for a lifetime’s worth of gain,” Adam Levine, a spokesman for the New York State Department of Transportation, told CBS 2. “It’s going to be a 75-year service life that we’ll get out of this bridge when we’re done “

Drivers coming from New Jersey are encouraged to use any of the three Staten Island crossings, while motorists making their way into New York from the north are advised to take the Tappan Zee Bridge.

If you’re driving by the GWB, let us know how bad the traffic is throughout the day and into the evening in the comments section below…

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