The New Jersey Department of Transportation last month began a two-year $90 million rehabilitation project on an elevated stretch of Route 495 leading from the New Jersey Turnpike to the Lincoln Tunnel.

Because the project involves lane closures in both directions, severe congestion and delays were predicted. But that never materialized.

Transportations officials then braced for jams after the Labor Day weekend, figuring summer vacationers would be back to work and more cars would be heading into New York. But that hasn’t happened either.

According to New Jersey 101.5 traffic reporter Bob Williams, the delays we’ve seen over the past few weeks have really been no different than the normal backups we had before the project began.

“You’re sitting in that 15-20 minutes coming off the Turnpike ramp, and then you’ve got another 15 minutes or so at the toll plazas. About 35 to 40 minutes is an average morning," Williams said.

He noted that while traffic at the Lincoln Tunnel hasn’t really been worse since the construction began, the Holland Tunnel seems to be backing up sooner in the 6 p.m. hour while the George Washington Bridge is getting another 10 to 15-minute delays.

Steve Schapiro, the director of communications for the state Department of Transportation, said traffic through the work zone on 495 is moving a bit slower than it was before the project began but “overall traffic is moving.

"Any delays that have occurred typically have been relatively minor.”

He said the doom-and-gloom traffic congestion predictions have not come to pass because people realized there was going to be construction and made plans for alternate routes.

“Whether it’s the George Washington Bridge or the Holland Tunnel — extending their commute, leaving earlier or later — people have gotten the message," he said.

Starting at 9 p.m. Friday, eastbound traffic on 495 heading into the Lincoln Tunnel will be shifted to the left so that work can commence in the right lane for the next several months. This change may cause some slowdowns as drivers get used to the new pattern.

You can contact reporter David Matthau at David.Matthau@townsquaremedia.com

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