The state Department of Transportation Thursday announced a $1-billion plan to replace the deck of the Pulaski Skyway, the 80-year-old bridge connecting Raymond Boulevard to Jersey City.
The project is being paid for the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey.
The project affecting the 3.5-mile span is expected to commence in 2014 and is expected to add 75 years to the life of the structure, officials said. Once construction begins, the skyway will be closed to all northbound traffic -- an estimated 34,000 cars a day -- and will remain closed for two years. Southbound lanes will remain open.
DOT has created an online survey web site, www.pulaskiskyway.com, where motorists can submit alternative routes and modes of travel they will consider while the deck repair is underway. The DOT has asked motorists to submit their responses by the end of the month.
The DOT also plans to hold meetings with stakeholders.
"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," said DOT Commissioner James Simpson. "The comments and suggestions we receive will help us focus on travel routes, travel modes and other options that will best serve the public and help mitigate the anticipated significant traffic impacts associated with this essential and necessary work."
Diverting northbound vehicles from the skyway during the deck replacement phase of the rehabilitation project cuts four years of construction time and more than $210 million in costs as compared to an alternative that would restrict deck replacement work to nights and weekends only, when many of the other regional construction projects will be using night and weekend closures, the DOT said in a statement.
The turnpike's Newark Bay-Hudson County Extension (I-78), Route 1&9 T, the Turnpike Eastern Spur and Route 7 are expected to absorb most of the detoured traffic volume.
Following are some of the efforts to accommodate diverted traffic:
- DOT announced that the New Jersey Turnpike Authority will convert a shoulder along the Turnpike's Newark Bay-Hudson County Extension (I-78) into an eastbound travel lane.
- ·DOT will be optimizing northbound traffic flow on 1&9 T.
- DOT will be working with NJ TRANSIT on the feasibility of bolstering public transportation service during this period.
- Car-pooling and van-pooling will be encouraged.