NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – Friday night starts the nearly 3-year-long closure of the 31st Street ramp from Kennedy Boulevard to Route 495 westbound as the project to rehabilitate the Route 495 Bridge advances in Hudson County.

The message from officials: Expect delays from both the New Jersey and New York sides of the Hudson, reports CBS2’s Meg Baker.

“A lot of traffic here already, you know it’s going to be a lot more traffic,” said commuter Jeffrey Agba.

The 31st Street ramp shut down will set up a new traffic pattern, diverting drivers onto Paterson Plank Road.

Making matters worse next week, the actual drivers’ “doomsday” comes on Aug. 17 when crews will close one lane in each direction.

Route 495 connects drivers from the tunnel to the New Jersey turnpike and Route 3 using the long viaduct.

People planning to head out of New York for an event at the Meadowlands or needing to head north or west should expect a bottleneck. The impact is expected to reverberate throughout the area with places like Union City, Hoboken and Weehawkin bearing the brunt.

“We have a basic game plan traffic control officers moved up to 11th, 12th 13th and 14th (streets to) make sure boxes are not blocked,” said Hoboken Police Sgt. William Montanez.

The New Jersey Department of Transportation suggests drivers use mass transit, but NJ TRANSIT has its own problems, but there is also the North Bergen light rail and the ferry system.

Express bus lanes will remain open, but getting buses to the lane could be a challenge.

“It’s important for Hoboken residents, so many of us commute to city via the bus system which I will say is quite good, but when you do get stuck and need to get into the office, it’s a bad time,” said Hoboken Christina Stoddard.

More than 150,000 motorists drive over the crumbling, 80-year-old span daily. The bridge is considered structurally deficient and functionally obsolete. The $90 million project is expected to extend the bridge’s life by 75 years.

New Jersey’s Department of Transportation has said it expects “severe congestion” during the bridge work and is urging commuters to travel at off-peak times if possible, and consider using public transportation. Only NJ TRANSIT buses will be allowed to access Route 495 westbound from 6 a.m. to 1 p.m. Monday through Friday to minimize the delays to NJ TRANSIT customers.

It has set up a series of detours for vehicles that need to exit off Route 495 to Routes 1&9 north and south.

Those detours, and the anticipated migration of cars seeking shortcuts, is expected to increase traffic in the cramped side streets of towns along 495.

When the ramp reopens, the New Jersey Department of Transportation says there will be no access to Route 495 westbound with traffic detoured onto Paterson Plank Road.

From the NJDOT website, drivers should note the following detour options:

31st Street ramp to the New Jersey Turnpike

  • Continue on 31st Street which becomes Paterson Plank Road
  • At the first light, turn left to continue on Paterson Plank Road
  • Stay right to take the on ramp to Route 3 eastbound
  • Continue on Route 3 to the New Jersey Turnpike

31st Street ramp to Route 3 westbound

  • Continue on 31st Street which becomes Paterson Plank Road
  • At the first light, turn left to continue on Paterson Plank Road
  • Keep right to enter Route 3 westbound

31st Street ramp to Route 1&9 southbound

  • Continue on 31st Street which becomes Paterson Plank Road
  • At the first light, turn left to continue on Paterson Plank Road
  • Stay left and turn left at the light onto the ramp to Route 1&9 southbound