NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — With a major improvement project slated to start soon, expect to see a lot of brake lights on both sides of the Lincoln Tunnel.

Before things get any better for drivers, they’ll have to get a whole lot worse.

Anyone who’s traveled on Rt. 495 heading to Manhattan knows the Helix — the elevated highway which feeds into the Lincoln Tunnel — is one of the most clogged sections of roadway in the Tri-State Area.

The more than 80-year-old section of highway is getting a much needed makeover, meaning the traffic commuters thought was bad is about to get far worse.

The New Jersey Department of Transportation begins midsummer, and plans to close one lane on Rt. 495 in both directions. It’ll also close the 31st Street ramp onto westbound 495, detouring traffic into neighboring Secaucus.

The town’s mayor and police department are concerned about how they will handle the overflow.

“Paterson Plank Road… right now can’t take any more traffic,” Mayor Michael Gonnelli said. “You can’t get out of town at 4 pm so I don’t know what they’re going to be doing.”

Secaucus Police Captain Carlos Goyenechea says he’s most concerned about responding to calls.

“Emergency vehicles need to be able to respond to calls during those peak times,” he said. “That’s what we’re working with the DOT to solve.”

New York City’s DOT and the NYPD say they’ll be monitoring any traffic changes in Manhattan, and make adjustments if needed.

According to AAA, commuters don’t have many options.

“The only suggestion I would give to commuters is you’re going to leave early,” Steven Rajczyk said.

Gonnelli has called for a meeting with the state’s DOT to discuss contingency plans, and NJ TRANSIT says they’re also working on plans to best accommodate their bus customers who they believe will be the most affected.


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