Road closures begin for long Lincoln Tunnel approach project
NORTH BERGEN, N.J. (AP) — Motorists will get their first taste of traffic congestion caused by a long-term project to rebuild and rehabilitate the viaduct and roadway approaching the Lincoln Tunnel in northern New Jersey.
The state Department of Transportation will close an on-ramp from busy Kennedy Boulevard to westbound Route 495 on Friday night. Motorists will be detoured onto Route 3 and Routes 1&9.
There’s more to come: Next Friday, a lane will be closed in each direction on the approach to the tunnel, for the duration of the project, estimated at 2 ½ years.
The connection between the New Jersey Turnpike and the tunnel into New York City is already one of the worst bottlenecks in the northeastern U.S. More than 150,000 motorists drive daily over the 80-year-old viaduct, which is considered structurally deficient and functionally obsolete. The $90 million project is expected to extend the bridge’s life by 75 years.
New Jersey’s Department of Transportation has said it expects “severe congestion” during the bridge work and is urging commuters to travel at off-peak times if possible, and consider using public transportation.
The latter option has become less appealing in recent weeks as New Jersey Transit’s train service has been riddled with delays and cancellations caused by engineer shortages and equipment problems.
The DOT has set up a series of detours for vehicles that need to exit off Route 495 to Routes 1&9 north and south. Those detours are expected to increase traffic in the cramped side streets of towns along Route 495 including Union City, Weehawken and Secaucus
One bright spot for bus commuters: When the main lane closures begin next Friday, buses will still have a dedicated inbound lane in the mornings. New Jersey Transit is altering some bus routes to accommodate the project.