SOUTH KEARNY – So you thought you were finally going to be able to take the Pulaski Skyway in either direction, didn’t you? After all, the NJ Department of Transportation (NJDOT) announced the seemingly endless construction project would be completed by this summer.
Well, it’s not happening.
You can’t be surprised.
The NJDOT announced last week it may be up to another full year before the Skyway is open in both directions to vehicular traffic. It’s currently only open to northbound traffic (from Jersey City into South Kearny and Newark.)
NJDOT Spokesman Steve Shapiro made the disappointing announcement last week.
“Contract four, which is the re–decking of the southbound lanes of the Pulaski Skyway, is progressing with approximately 90% of the existing southbound deck having been removed to date. In addition, new deck panels have been installed on approximately 2.7 miles, or approximately 77% of the 3.5-mile long southbound side of the Skyway,” Shapiro said. “In addition to the installation of the deck panels, the contractor still needs to pour the concrete between the northbound and southbound lanes, the center median barrier needs to be constructed and any remaining curb section, decorative aluminum balustrade, guide rails and lights will need to be constructed on the southbound side.
“Much of this work is progressing concurrently with the deck panel installation. Once all of this work is completed, an overlay driving surface will be applied to the entire southbound side of the bridge.”
But it’s retaining walls, not originally part of the project, that will push the completion back yet again.
“ … With the northbound lanes closed to traffic, NJDOT will be taking advantage of this closure to reconstruct the east-end retaining walls as part of Contract 7. These walls, which are between the Skyway and the Route 139 reconstruction, weren’t originally part of the Skyway rehabilitation. If they are not reconstructed now, they would need replacing in a few years – resulting in future closures, detours and inconvenience to motorists.”
Shapiro says the retaining-wall projected was “advertised in March and is expected to be awarded in May, with work beginning” late this summer.
“Reconstructing these walls now will extend the life of the entire Pulaski Skyway/Route 139 corridor from Newark through Jersey City to the Holland Tunnel for the next 75 years without the need for additional closures or rehabilitation,” Shapiro said. “This work is expected to be completed next spring (2018), at which time the Skyway will reopen to two-way traffic.”
This isn’t the first time the Skyway project’s completion date has been delayed.
The project, which was first proposed in 2006 by then-Gov. Jon S. Corzine, was originally expected to be completed in 2015. But in 2015, the NJDOT blamed a “harsh winter” and “rusted floor beams” for it not being ready on time.
It was in 2015 when the NJDOT pushed the completion date to the end of 2016.
That date was changed by the NJDOT to this spring.