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NJ Hearing Focuses On Impact Of Pulaski Skyway Closure

New Jersey Assembly committee holds hearing on Pulaski Skyway closure (credit: Monica Miller/WCBS 880)

New Jersey Assembly committee holds hearing on Pulaski Skyway closure (credit: Monica Miller/WCBS 880)

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UNION CITY, N.J. (CBSNewYork/AP) – Public officials in northern New Jersey are offering suggestions to minimize the impact of a planned major roadway closure.

The Pulaski Skyway will undergo a massive rehabilitation project and be partially closed to traffic heading into New York City for two years.

The state Assembly Transportation Committee held a special hearing on the matter Thursday in Union City.

Residents and business owners from Newark to Jersey City said the closure will create a logistical nightmare as traffic is diverted to other roadways.

About a dozen got up to speak at the hearing, including the Hudson County Executive.

“I can give my support to the project that’s here cause I like the fact it’ll be finished in two years, rather than five years,” said Hudson County Executive Tom DeGise.

But he said it’s not clear how the state plans on diverting traffic on already banged up roads and who is going to pay for it.

“I view the traffic somewhat like water that’s on the loose with a broken pipe. It’s gonna go everywhere and you’re not exactly sure where it’s going to go,” he said.

Jersey City Mayor Jerramiah Healy, who was among those agreeing that traffic is already at the breaking point during rush hour had a few suggestions.

Among them was banning single-occupancy vehicles and running a light rail or rapid bus service from the Frank Lautenberg Secaucus Junction station to the Jersey City waterfront to help 24,000 commuters get to work.

“Run it down the 6th Street embankment and you bring people right to Pavonia Avenue, where the PATH station is,” he said.

DOT officials estimate that closing the lanes instead of restricting work to nights and weekends will save $200 million and four years of construction time.

The $1 billion rehab project to upgrade the 80-year-old span will begin following the 2014 Super Bowl at MetLife Stadium.

(TM and © Copyright 2013 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2013 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)