New Jersey’s Pulaski Skyway, a major route to the Holland Tunnel and Manhattan, will be closed to New York-bound traffic for two years starting in 2014.
The 80-year-old causeway, which carries U.S. Routes 1 and 9 over its 3.5-mile (5.6 kilometer) distance, will undergo a $1 billion reconstruction starting after the National Football League’s Super Bowl championship game at nearby MetLife Stadium in 2014, the New Jersey Transportation Department said.
“We are announcing these construction plans a full year before the serious impacts will be felt because we welcome and value input from commuters, emergency service providers, local officials, residents and business owners,” Transportation Commissioner James Simpson said yesterday in a statement.
State Senator Nicholas Sacco, a North Bergen Democrat who leads his chamber’s Transportation Committee, said there was “no alternative plan” for the highway, which connects Interstate 95 traffic to the Holland Tunnel.
“It’s a bleak picture,” he said by telephone. “It’s going to be extremely difficult for people heading into the city.” The structure wasn’t maintained for decades, he said.
Westbound Skyway traffic will continue, according to Joseph Dee, a Transportation Department spokesman. Vehicles will shift to repaired sections as work progresses on the road.
The department will add an eastbound traffic lane on the shoulder of the New Jersey Turnpike’s Newark Bay-Hudson County Extension as an alternate route to ease congestion.
“The structure is in need of major repairs/rehabilitation due to deterioration that has occurred over its lifetime,” according to a history of the highway on the department’s website. “The skyway is also functionally obsolete due to several substandard geometric features,” including narrow lanes and shoulders.
Steve Coleman, a spokesman for the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, which operates the Holland Tunnel, didn’t respond to an e-mail and telephone call seeking comment on the shutdown and repairs.
Planned improvements include deck replacement along the road’s full length and repairs to columns, piers and abutments, according to the state.
The Skyway carries more than 67,000 vehicles a day between Jersey City in Hudson County and Newark in Essex County, according to the Transportation Department. Built at a cost of $20 million, or $3.2 billion in 2012 dollars, it spans the Hackensack and Passaic rivers, the New Jersey Turnpike, railroad tracks and local roads in Jersey City, Kearny and Newark. The tunnel entrance to Manhattan is in Jersey City.
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