NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) —Three of the four lanes on the George Washington Bridge will be closed at times this weekend so crews can replace steel deck panels as part of the upper-level deck replacement project.

There will only be one inbound lane open on the upper level from 10 p.m. Friday until 10 a.m. Saturday. Three lanes will then be closed in both directions on the upper level from Saturday at 10 p.m. until Sunday at 10 a.m. The lower level will be open.

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The Port Authority says the closures will allow crews to replace critical steel deck panels on the current deck, “significantly
minimizing the chances of another emergency closure of the bridge during the holidays.”

The agency said drivers should expect “significant delays” overnight and in the early morning. Motorists are being advised to use alternate routes, such as the Lincoln or Holland Tunnel or use the lower level of the bridge.

Robert Sinclair with AAA New York called the lanes closures this weekend bad timing. He said 27 percent of the nation will be on the roads this weekend traveling for the holidays.

“About 5.2 million from New York State will be traveling and more a half million of those will be traveling by motor vehicle,” he said.

Emergency repairs have snarled traffic on the GWB at least three times in a month. The latest incident happened on Monday when crews were forced to replace a steel decking and joint plates.

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Those repairs came less than a week after emergency repairs on the bridge closed outbound lanes.

Last month, two inbound upper lanes of the bridge were closed overnight after problems with an expansion joint there resulted in a 4-foot-by-4-foot section of concrete crumbling away.

Gridlock from the bridge has been impacting drivers who don’t even take the GWB, heading south into midtown Manhattan and north into the Bronx.

The Port Authority says it wasn’t prepared for the emergency closures. It was forced to perform an $82 million repair when cracks destabilized the span’s upper roadway already ten years past its life span.

The agency said it has no alternative for diverting traffic, saying it would be structurally unsafe to move the median.

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