NORTH BERGEN — The first morning of the years-long Route 495 Viaduct project went smoothly — but don't get used to it.

The morning stared off as expected, with 20-minute delays on Routes 3 and 495 eastbound headed for the Lincoln Tunnel by 6 a.m. — but the delays subsided as commuters opted for some of the suggested alternatives.

Monday was the first weekday commute with one less lane operating in each direction on Route 495 between the Turnpike and Lincoln Tunnel as the $90.3 million project to replace the entire bridge deck of the nine-span viaduct got under way.

"Traffic was much heavier at the Holland Tunnel and George Washington Bridge. I think commuters are in an adjustment period and I think we'll see varying conditions and delays as commuters try to figure out their new normal," New Jersey Fast Traffic's Bob Williams said.

Another factor in the first day success was NJ Transit's first near-normal weekday for rail commuters in weeks, with only one cancelled train on Monday morning. Spokesman Nathan Rudy said figures were not yet available to determine if there was a change in ridership on buses headed to New York.

NJ Department of Transportation spokesman Matthew D. Saidel said commuters should not be lulled into a false sense of security by the easy commute.

"Traffic may be heavy over the next several weeks, particularly after Labor Day when people are back from vacation and school is back in session. Commuters should continue to seek alternative routes over the course of the project.

Contact reporter Dan Alexander at or via Twitter @DanAlexanderNJ

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