Your Pulaski Skyway Survival Guide

Friday, April 11, 2014 - 04:00 AM

What is the Pulaski Skyway?

It's a 3.5 mile-long stretch of road (also known as Route 1&9) that runs through Newark and Jersey City and bridges the Passaic River. It serves in part as a feeder to the Holland Tunnel — a major Hudson River crossing between New York and New Jersey.

It's closing!? When? And why?

The whole thing isn't closing, but the two northbound lanes, which head toward the Holland Tunnel, are. The work will begin on Saturday, April 12. The 81-year-old bridge is "structurally deficient" and functionally obsolete — meaning it's not up to current design standards. The entire deck has to be replaced, and it will take two years and $1 billion.

I have a follow up: Why does it have to close for two whole years?

It's a lot of work. "The bridge is a D-minus," DOT commissioner Jim Simpson said this week. "We don't have the time to [do the work] on weekends and nights. You wake up one day, you've got an 'F' situation." In other words, it's a way to front-load the pain: the state estimated that doing the work on nights and weekends would have taken six years.

I use the Pulaski! What am I going to do?

Try and avoid it altogether. Here's how:

NJ Transit has increased rail capacity on its Raritan Valley, Morris & Essex, and North Jersey Coast Lines to Newark Penn Station during rush hour, and has begun operating a new bus route (the #95) between Watchung and Newark Penn Station.

The PATH train has also increased capacity in and out of Newark, adding about 6,000 extra seats each morning.

Suburban Transit, a private bus company, is operating new park-and-ride service between a parking lot near Newark Airport and two PATH stations in Jersey City. According to the DOT, "free parking is available for 650 cars, and the bus fare, subsidized by NJDOT, is just $2."

Seastreak is also operating ferry service between Atlantic Highlands, N.J., and Jersey City/Hoboken. Fare: $12 each way.

If you need to drive, the NJ Turnpike, a toll road, is serving as a detour route. The state is adding a lane during peak hours to accommodate more cars, and has set up car pool information here.

How bad is it really going to be?

“We recognize that there is going to be a tremendous amount of pain for everyone who lives and travels in this corridor,” said Simpson. Having said that, we bet the first few weekdays will be the worst — and then traffic will adjust as people figure out alternatives.

Is there a website for the project?

Yes:, not to mention a Twitter account and a video about the work.

Who was Pulaski?

Casimir Pulaski (1745-1799) was a Warsaw-born military commander who went on to fight for America during the Revolutionary War. ("I came here, where freedom is being defended, to serve it, and to live or die for it," he wrote to George Washington.) He's known as "the father of the American cavalry," and there are hundreds of bridges, streets, parks, memorials, and other public places bearing his name



Comments [7]

rick from nj

I'm sure there is a reason, so rather than asking why not... I'll ask, what's the reason the 2 lanes that are staying open couldn't be set up to flip directions. I.E make them northbound from 5 am to 11 am, and southbound the rest of the day? It's a billion dollar project over 2 years, they could probably have figured something out, so why not?

Apr. 12 2014 07:56 AM
John from Jersey from No. Jersey

The sky way also bridges the Hackensack River to South Kearny which has its own heavily trafficked exit ramp. The toll free is called TRUCK 1/9, has several lights. There has always been a bottle neck at the circle where the
North & South roads merge into the "Underground" approach to the tunnel.

Apr. 11 2014 12:43 PM

Bob Bard: check out this Brian Lehrer Show segment:

Apr. 11 2014 11:44 AM
Liz from Brooklyn

@Jeanne, the report does mention using the NJ Turnpike extension if you need to get to the Holland Tunnel by car. For myself, I use the Skyway via Rt 78 to get back to Bklyn after visiting my Dad in Basking Ridge. During this construction, I'll be taking Rts 1/9 down to the Goethels and going across Staten Island.

Apr. 11 2014 11:07 AM
TOM from Brooklyn

And the cantilevered section of I-278 under the Brooklyn promenade is better?

Apr. 11 2014 10:52 AM

Two comments: First: the phrase 'current design standards' -- not sure this has so much to do with "design" as it does SAFETY. Secondly, the report offers tips on using public transportation, but I see no mention of alternate routes if one does need to drive into the city. That would have been helpful.

Apr. 11 2014 07:50 AM
Bob Bard from East Meadow NY

...your last question prompts this though: how many bridges, parks and roadways here in the NYC area are named after people whose significance we New Yorkers have either forgotten or never knew ? I'm sure most contemporary baseball fans know that the Belt Parkway's Exit 15 is named after Dodger pitcher Carl Erksine but who was Guy Brewer (...of Guy Brewer Boulevard...) ? Maybe a topic for one of WNYC's terrific shows ?

Apr. 11 2014 07:31 AM

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