Pulaski Skyway construction delays extend closure by a year
Motorists travelling between Newark and Jersey City will have to wait at least another year for the eastbound lanes of the Pulaski Skyway to reopen, due to construction delays.
The bridge, opened in 1932, need extensive repairs. The eastbound lanes were closed for two years in April 2014, as part of a larger $1.8 billion rehabilitation project. But the damage to steel beams underneath the concrete roadway was much worst than anticipated and the completion date was pushed back to later this year. On Thursday, NBC 4 New York reported that the project was delayed even further and will take at least another year to complete.
In the meantime, motorists travelling along Route 1 & 9 North are being detoured onto Route 1 & 9 Truck. There is also heavier traffic on the New Jersey Turnpike Newark Bay-Hudson Bay County Extension (I-78) eastbound.
"While the state did implement a plan to reduce the traffic impact to Jersey City, there's no question we've seen increased traffic in many neighborhoods that we continue to address," Jersey City Mayor Steven Fulop said in a statement Saturday. "Of course, we understand delays can happen, but we would like to see the project completed as close to deadline as possible, as we rely on the Skyway as a major connector for our commercial sector and visitors to our city."
NJDOT has suggested visitors to the city use public transit, consider carpooling, and avoid the detour routes during peak morning and evening commutes if possible.
The northbound lanes were closed entirely to allow for quicker replacement of the bridge deck.
The 3.5-mile-long was deemed "structurally deficient," according to the state Department of Transportation. The eastbound lanes carried about 40,000 vehicles daily, including 10,000 during the morning rush hour.
The lane closures are part of a larger seven-year project, which began in 2013. The project includes replacing the bridge deck, strengthening the steel superstructure, repairing ramps, increasing the Skyway’s ability to withstand an earthquake and improving drainage and lighting. According to the NJ DOT, decades of exposure to water, salt and harsh weather has caused severe corrosion to important steel bridge deck components. Final completion of the overall project, with repainting, is scheduled for 2020.