JERSEY CITY, N.J. (AP/PIX11) — Commuters will face the great unknown when the northbound lanes of the Pulaski Skyway close, starting at midnight Friday and lasting for two years.
The shutdown is part of a $1 billion project to repair the 81-year-old span on which 74,000 vehicles travel daily between Newark and Jersey City.
Officials are touting alternate routes and mass transit to help ease the anticipated gridlock. But it may be more than a week before motorists and those who live near the bridge will feel the brunt of the shutdown.
That’s because Jersey City schools will be closed next week and traffic is expected to be lighter with people observing Easter and Passover holidays.
Once the northbound lanes are rebuilt, southbound traffic will be shifted to those lanes.
Here are tips on how to survive the closure, according to PulaskiSkyway.com:
New Jersey Turnpike
- The eastbound shoulder of the NJ Turnpike Newark Bay-Hudson County Extension (I-78) between exits 14A and 14C will be turned into an extra lane during peak travel times in the morning and evening.
- The New Jersey Turnpike Eastern Spur to Lincoln Tunnel is expected to accommodate an additional 1,920 cars during the morning peak.
- Drivers who chose to use the Turnpike can save time at the toll plazas by opening an E-ZPass account.
Route 1&9 T
- Traffic headed toward Jersey City and New York City can use Route 1&9 T, which is now equipped with adaptive traffic signal control technology and entrance ramps improvements aimed at accommodating nearly 1,700 additional vehicles.
- Carriers that operate 105 buses on the northbound Skyway will use the Goethals Bridge and Staten Island Expressway to NYC
- PANYNJ has increased the frequency of its train departures from Newark Penn Station, increasing capacity by approximately 6,000 customers each morning.
- Seastreak ferry operators will offer new service to Paulus Hook in Jersey City and Hoboken Terminal. Fares are $12 each way.
New Jersey Transit
- An express bus service will run along the Route 22 corridor to Newark Penn Station.
- More train departures from Newark Penn Station, increasing capacity by about 6,000 customers each morning.
- More trains added during the morning and evening peak periods on the Morris and Essex Lines trains, Raritan Valley Line trains and North Jersey Coast Line trains. Trains to Hoboken Terminal provide commuters with connections to NYC via PATH or ferry and to Jersey City via NJ TRANSIT’s Hudson-Bergen Light Rail Line.
CARPOOLS AND RIDESHARES
- A private bus company, Suburban Transit, will provide new bus service from a park-and-ride lot near Newark Liberty International Airport located just west of Route 1&9 and south of I-78 in Newark, with service to Grove Street and Exchange Place in Jersey City. Free parking is available for 650 cars, and the bus fare, subsidized by NJDOT, is $2.
- Drivers are encouraged to consider carpooling across the Skyway or its detours during the construction. Click here for more details and incentives.
The traffic impact is expected to be so severe, Jersey City may declare a state of emergency during the start of the closure, NJ.com reported. The move, Mayor Steve Fulop said, will let city officials have more flexibility to mitigate the closure’s effects.
Drivers can call 511 for travel alerts in real time.