A rehabilitation project on the Pulaski Skyway began Saturday, closing the bridge’s Manhattan-bound lanes for two years.
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Two of the bridge's four lanes will be redecked at a time, but only outbound traffic will be allowed, no matter which lanes are under construction, officials said. The busy span connects Manhattan-bound drivers to the Holland Tunnel.
"This work is to repair the bridge, make sure it's in good condition and extend its life another 75 years," said a Department of Transportation official.
The 81-year-old bridge typically handles 67,000 cars and trucks per day. Officials have said the $1 billion repair is cheaper and faster than the $5 billion it would cost to knock down the bridge and build a new skyway.
Drivers who rely on the bridge were girding for longer commutes.
Michael Damato, a driver who lives in Watchung, N.J., has to strategize about how he’ll get to his job in Manhattan.
"Between the fact that the Holland Tunnel is going to get real backed up with the Turnpike being the only way in, I'll probably just have to go another route," said Damato.
NJ Transit and PATH are offering service enhancements, and alternate routes will include the eastbound shoulder on the NJ Turnpike, which will be converted into a third travel lane during the morning and evening rush.