The temporary, part-time use of the right shoulder of the eastbound Newark Bay-Hudson County Extension as a third travel lane is about to come to an end, and the New Jersey Turnpike Authority is advising drivers to be prepared for heavy congestion in the area as a result.
The right shoulder will be coned off, the overhead signals will display a continuous red X, and driving on the eastbound shoulder of the Extension will be prohibited once again.he Turnpike Authority has been operating the eastbound right shoulder as a travel lane during peak periods since 2014 to provide additional capacity during the long-term closure of the northbound Pulaski Skyway. The New Jersey Department of Transportation closed the northbound Skyway in connection with a $1 billion rehabilitation project. The eastbound Newark Bay-Hudson County Extension provided an important alternate route from Newark to Jersey City and New York during the northbound Skyway’s four-year closure.
The Turnpike Authority has been replacing the deck and making other critical capital improvements on the Newark Bay-Hudson County Extension under a series of construction contracts over the past decade. The Extension was badly in need of those repairs. Some of the work was deferred because it would have conflicted with the Pulaski closure. With the northbound Pulaski now open, the deferred work on the Extension is about to get underway. The part-time use of the right shoulder as a third travel lane must cease in order to facilitate the construction.
This will not be a short-term condition. While the use of the shoulder as a third travel lane during the morning and evening rush hours was very effective in reducing the congestion from the Pulaski Skyway closure, adding a third lane of traffic on the shoulder for the long-term would put a burden on the structures that they were not designed to handle. Once the construction is complete in 2022, the Extension will return to its normal configuration: two travel lanes and a right shoulder both eastbound and westbound.
The Turnpike Authority is advising drivers to prepare for delays on both the Extension and on the mainline of the Turnpike near where it connects to the Extension. Drivers are urged to consider alternate travel strategies such as rescheduling their commutes to avoid peak-period congestion in the mornings and evenings. Though the volume of vehicles on the Extension has dropped since the northbound Pulaski Skyway reopened, it remains higher than it was 10 years ago.
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