NEWARK, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — Starting next year, the Pulaski Skyway will undergo a massive rehabilitation project and be partially closed for two years, New Jersey Department of Transportation officials announced Thursday afternoon.
The $1 billion rehab project to upgrade the 80-year-old span will begin following the 2014 Super Bowl at MetLife Stadium.
While repairs and upgrades are made, New York-bound drivers will have to find an alternate route.
“Wow, that’s going to screw up traffic,” a commuter named Chris told 1010 WINS’ Gene Michaels before DOT officials formally announced the project.
Those same officials noted that if the work isn’t done, drivers will be stuck in traffic anyway.
“If you’re on the bridge right now, you’d see that one lane is shut down because they’re doing roadwork out there,” DOT Commissioner James Simpson said.
Drivers who use the Pulaski Skyway will have a number of other options, including the New Jersey Turnpike, the Lincoln Tunnel and Routes 1 and 9, Michaels reported.
But, those alternate routes are going to feel the pressure once the project starts. Toll roads like the Newark Bay Extension of the New Jersey Turnpike are typically slow already, and side streets in Jersey City could be chaotic, according to CBS 2’s in-house traffic expert, Alex Denis.
The Pulaski Skyway will be shut down for two years beginning in 2014. Crews will replace the entire bridge deck and make repairs to the steel and concrete columns and ramps.
The entire project is expected to be completed by 2020 and in the end is anticipated to extend the life of the span by 75 years, according to the DOT.
“Well if it’s needed, they have to do it. Unfortunately, we’re all going to suffer in the meantime,” Chris said.
Delivery drivers said getting into the city from Newark Liberty Airport will be more difficult once the roadways closes.
“Lincoln is always busy. So that’s like the easy way to get into the city,” a delivery driver told 1010 WINS’ Michaels.
Two outbound lanes will remain open during the construction project.
Officials said they made the decision to shut down the northbound span after looking at all other options. DOT officials determined doing the repairs on weekends and overnight would have taken six years to complete.
Will you be impacted by the construction project? Which alternate route will you be using? Sound off in the comments section below…