ERSEY CITY – The project currently in planning stages to modernize the Pulaski Skyway generally received support from legislators, who are aware of its substandard condition.
However, concerns were raised about the additional traffic that will most likely be diverted to other major roadways, which also are in anything but pristine condition.
The Pulaski Skyway, a 3.5-mile corridor serving traffic from Route 1 and 9 to New York City, serves some 67,000 motorists each day, with 3,500 alone during peak a.m. hours. The goal is to rehabilitate the bridge within a two-year timespan by shutting down the northbound lanes for the first nine months and the southbound lanes the following 15 months. Throughout this period, all traffic will be flowing south. No northbound traffic will be allowed.
The project is estimated to cost $1 billion and is being funded by the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey.
State transportation department officials said a shoulder on Route 78 will be open to accommodate motorists who will temporarily use that highway while Pulaski Skyway northbound traffic is not allowed.
Jersey City mayor Jerramiah Healy said the road closures that are central to the project will cause some motorists to start using public transportation. To help make that happen, Healy said it would be a good idea to increase parking at the Frank Lautenberg train station in Secaucus, which he described as underutilized. He also suggested putting in place a light rail line to enable people to get to the Meadowlands and getting the state to provide more police to help the flow of traffic in Jersey City.
“It must be repaved…It must be fixed,” he said. “We got to swallow this bitter pill.”
But Jersey City Councilman Steve Fulop, who’s running against Healy for mayor, said he’s concerned about the traffic spillover into the city’s residential roads, and the possible negative impact on the city’s economy.
“The long-term impact from a financial standpoint could be more severe,” he said.
The project is expected to begin in March 2014 so there won’t be any additional logjams during the Super Bowl.