JERSEY CITY, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — Traffic was moving again Wednesday evening on Route 139 in Jersey City after falling debris closed the road for hours and made a mess of the morning commute. However, some lanes were to be shut again into Thursday morning.
Vehicles were backed up for miles after chunks of concrete crumbled onto the covered lower portion of Route 139 overnight, forcing emergency crews to close the major outbound road just outside the Holland Tunnel as well as the upper inbound lanes.
“It’s been a long time coming from what I’ve heard,” one driver told CBS 2’s Vanessa Murdock before the evening rush. “It’s been a very long time coming. Hopefully, everything will be fixed and on time so rush hour goes smoothly.”
As WCBS 880’s Levon Putney reported, traffic resumed through the outbound covered roadway just before 2:30 p.m. The overhead eastbound lanes reopened to traffic before 1:30 p.m.
Officials announced Wednesday afternoon that the westbound lanes would be closing again at 10 p.m. until 5 a.m. Thursday morning for repairs. The overnight closures were expected go on for several days as repairs were made, New Jersey Department of Transportation spokesman Joe Dee said.
“Out of an abundance of caution, we’re going to send out some inspection crews tonight and over the next few nights to make sure that the concrete that is above the lower-level travel lanes of Route 139 is stable and is attached firmly to the structural steel and other structures overhead,” Dee told WCBS 880’s Wayne Cabot.
“We don’t expect the concrete to come down, but we inspect our bridges every two years, and we make repairs as needed, and we do this type of work all the time. This is a case where this is a very old roadway. As you know, this is part of the Pulaski Skyway rehabilitation project. We’re getting ready to replace and rebuild this entire section of the roadway.”
Inspectors from the NJDOT spent Wednesday assessing the damage and trying to determine what caused the concrete to crumble.
“They should’ve fixed that road a long time ago,” one motorist told 1010 WINS’ Steve Sandberg. “You could see it’s falling apart. It’s decayed for 10 years already.”
Vibrations from heavy vehicles passing overhead, age and weather are all considered possible factors, CBS 2’s Kathryn Brown reported.
“I’m glad nobody got hurt at least,” a commuter told Murdock.
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