NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – Traffic on Staten Island will not increase much when two years of shutdowns begin on the Pulaski Skyway next month, New Jersey officials assured city lawmakers on Friday.
As WCBS 880’s Jim Smith reported, Staten Island lawmakers met with New Jersey Department of Transportation officials to discuss the planned traffic diversions.
Rep. Michael Grimm voiced his concerns about an influx of cars and buses onto the island when closures to renovate the Skyway begin on the inbound side on April 12.
“We’re already at the most severe levels on the Staten Island Expressway and the Verrazano Bridge, so any impact whatsoever is too much,” Grimm said.
New Jersey DOT Commissioner Jim Simpson assured Grimm they’re only anticipating a 4 percent increase of drivers on Staten Island as a result of the span closures.
“Basically, we’re adding 50 cars an hour and there are almost 2,000 cars an hour that go over the Goethals Bridge now,” Simpson said. “You’ve got a very, very small population that might want to take their car and pay an extra toll to get to Manhattan and I don’t really see it happening.”
Grimm said his concerns were eased.
“We feel very confident that New Jersey is doing everything that they possibly can do,” said Grimm.
“I would not say that anyone should be panicked over this but it’s something I will be watching,” Grimm added. “New Jersey is willing to react in real time if there is a potential problem. They’re willing to have other contingency plans and to work very closely with us to act quickly to alleviate it.”
WEB EXTRA: More On Pulaski Skyway Project
New York State Assemblywoman Nicole Malliotakis was also at the interstate meeting.
New Jersey officials laid out several other travel alternatives that don’t utilize Staten Island.
The Pulaski Skyway carries traffic along Route 1 and Route 9 between Jersey City and Newark.
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.
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.
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