UNION CITY, N.J. (CBSNewYork) – The Route 495 infrastructure rehabilitation project is now underway at the Lincoln Tunnel.
Starting at 9 p.m. Friday night, two lanes – one in each direction — on the 495 bridge closed for nearly three years.
It’s part of a $90 million project to replace the aging viaduct, reports CBS2’s Lisa Rozner.
“It’s very tough already, it takes like an hour and a half for me to get into the city,” said Dmitry Bubil of Florham Park, N.J.
The New Jersey Department of Transportation is recommending drivers take NJ TRANSIT buses which will have their own lane during the morning rush hour 6 a.m. to 10 a.m., but no such exclusive lane for the evening rush.
NJ TRANSIT will not cross honor train tickets.
THE DOT is suggesting the ferry, but a one-way trip during a weekday from Weehawken terminal is $13, plus having to pay $16 to park there for the day.
“It’s kind of expensive, you get a monthly it’s like $360 round trip,” said Kim Jenkins of Piermont, N.Y. “The New York City ferry is like $275, so kind of sucks that ours is so expensive.”
New York City will feel extra congestion too. The Office of Emergency Management sent an alert Friday to prepare for “cross-town traffic delays near the Lincoln Tunnel.”
Due to the project, all FedEx offices in the city moved up their deadline a half hour to 8:30 p.m. for customers to drop off overnight deliveries. Shipments typically are driven to Newark airport via Route 495.
Another DOT recommendation is to work from home, but for those that cannot do that, try the George Washington Bridge, the Holland Tunnel or go through Staten Island.
“The good news is that we are making this bridge safer, stronger, and a more reliable way to commute. There’s no disputing that,” New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy said while touring the construction site Friday. “The bad news is it’s going to take a long time and it’s going to inconvenience a great many people.”
Watch: Gov. Murphy On 495 Lane Closures
“This is construction that can’t wait,” New Jersey Department of Transportation Commissioner Diane Gutierrez-Scaccetti said.
Before Friday, drivers who take 495 to access the Lincoln Tunnel were bracing themselves for the major delays.
“This is gonna be a wreck for us,” said Montvale resident Jon Vesey.
Officials say the 80-year-old bridge is in dire need of an overhaul.
“I’ve heard a lot since I’ve been commissioner that they want to see the benefits of the 23-cent gas tax increase. All you need to do is look up,” Gutierrez-Scaccetti added.
Congestion may have a domino-effect in surrounding towns, so extra police will be out making sure drivers don’t block the box.
The chief of police in Secaucus has a contingency plan to shut down access to local roads from Route 3 for safety reasons.
“There really is no place to send the traffic,” he said.
“It’s frustrating but the trains are even worse so I don’t know what to do, take the ferry… its expensive, the parking stinks,” Bruce Jones of Wayne told CBS2’s Jenna DeAngelis.
“Think of the Gothels Bridge, the brand new Gothels, into the Staten Island Expressway. If you’ve got a couple of friends, there’s an HOV 3 in the morning. You can ride it for 12 miles right into Manhattan, relatively unimpeded, said “Gridlock Sam” Schwartz.
Either way, this will last more than two and a half years, so get ready for the ride.
Drivers can sign up for alerts on the project through RestoreNJ495.com.