NEW JERSEY (CBSNewYork) — The Manhattan-bound Pulaski Skyway will shut down on Saturday for a two-year bridge deck rehabilitation project.
As a result, state Department of Transportation Commissioner James Simpson reached out to motorists on Thursday regarding the alternative routes that are available to get people where they need to go, WCBS 880’s Levon Putney reported.
Pulaski Skyway is an 80-year-old bridge that has never been fixed.
“The bridge is actually in worse condition than the I-35 bridge,” said Simpson.
As 1010 WINS’ Carol D’Auria reported, 40,000 drivers use the northbound lanes daily, all of whom will now have to find another way.
“Thousands of extra seats have been added to rail, bus, and ferry services. And we really need motorists to switch to these modes, or travel off peak, or if that’s not suitable then just expect longer travel times by driving,” Simpson said.
Simpson said the state needs to fix the Pulaski Skyway now.
“Safety must always trump convenience,” the commissioner said. “Those who need to continue driving to work should adjust their drive times to avoid the morning peak if at all possible.”
Simpson said he expects heavy delays, especially during the first few weeks, on the inbound I-78 Newark Bay Extension, Route 7, and US 1/9. Even more delays are expected going through the Lincoln Tunnel as a result of the road closure.
He added the alternative routes have been prepped to handle extra traffic.
“It’s going to be a hassle, and I don’t know how much longer it’s going to take,” Simpson said.
Commissioner Simpson stressed that drivers should plan out an alternate route, leave early, and to take mass transit if possible.
Jersey City is expected to be impacted the most, D’Auria reported.
Jersey City Mayor Steven Fulop said on a good day traffic in his city is horrible, and that he doesn’t think people realize just how much worse it is going to be.
Fulop told WCBS 880 the city will declare a state of emergency because of the road closure.
“We’re going to declaring a state of emergency in order to give ourselves the flexibility as it relates to manpower, and street closures. To be nimble and not have to go through a lengthy legislative process. Recognizing that the Pulaski is going to be uncharted territory,” the mayor said.
Under the declaration the city will be able to move police officers’ shifts, change street routes and traffic signal timing, as well as order street closures without City Council’s approval.
Fulop said the city will have 55 additional police officers on duty to handle the Pulaski Skyway closure and all of its effects.
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