AASHTO Journal, 18 April 2014
After more than a year of communication with the public, the New Jersey Department of Transportation last week closed the northbound lanes of the Pulaski Skyway, which will remain closed for two years to “accommodate a critical phase of the rehabilitation project.”
The Pulaski Skyway, which opened in 1932, serves as a major transportation link in the state’s northern region, connecting Jersey City, South Kearny, and Newark. The skyway carries about 74,000 vehicles each day, but has deteriorated over time and needs substantial repairs and rehabilitation, along with addressing the fact that it is functionally obsolete because of older geometric features that do not meet today’s standards. NJDOT is closing the northbound lanes of the skyway for two years to replace the bridge deck. The project is estimated to cost $1 billion.
“NJDOT has worked closely with local officials and sister transportation agencies for more than a year to plan for this phase of the project, and I wish to thank them for their unprecedented cooperation and creative input,” said NJDOT Commissioner James Simpson in a statement. “However, we need motorists to partner with us right now to help avoid potentially crippling highway congestion and negative impacts on local communities, especially Jersey City.”
To prepare the public, NJDOT has conducted surveys with drivers on their trip information and alternative transportation preferences, allowing NJDOT to plan its educational campaigns gearing up for the closure. In December, NJDOT launched a major campaign to inform drivers of the closure that included YouTube videos, a project website, variable message signs, TV and radio ads, newsletters, stakeholder meetings, and many other strategies (see related AASHTO Journal story here).
“We recognize that there is going to be a tremendous amount of pain for everyone who lives and travels in this corridor,” Simpson said. “However, this project eliminates the potential for unimaginable disruptions that would occur were it necessary to completely shut down the Skyway.”
Additional information on the Pulaski Skyway project is available here.