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Transportation Nation

Pulaski Skyway to Close for Two Years; No New Rail Tunnel on Horizon

Thursday, January 10, 2013

The Pulaski Skyway (photo by Paul Lowry via flickr)

The Pulaski Skyway -- an 80-year old elevated highway that carries 67,000 cars a day in New Jersey -- will partially close for two years beginning in 2014.

The highway runs between Newark and Jersey City and serves as a major feeder for cars and buses accessing the Holland Tunnel into downtown Manhattan. It will shut down to traffic after the completion of the 2014 Super Bowl, being held in the nearby Meadowlands.

The NJ Department of Transportation says it needs that time to entirely replace the existing deck, upgrade ramps, paint and seismically retrofit the Pulaski, which is in "poor condition." The work will cost $1 billion.

While deck work is ongoing, northbound lanes will be closed entirely for two years. Two southbound travel lanes will remain open.

Speaking Thursday in Newark, the state's transportation commissioner, James Simpson, said the work amounts to "basically a new bridge in place." He acknowledged the disruption closing the roadway would cause, but said "we couldn't leave it in its existing state. The only decision was to reconstruct it in place."

The Pulaski is considered "functionally obsolete" because it no longer conforms to modern design standards, and in 2011 the Texas Transportation Institute rated it the sixth least reliable road in the country. (It also ranked #8 on Jalopnik's less scientific list of "the most terrifying roads in the world.") The state says the work will extend the life of the structure by at least 75 years.

The closure of the roadway will have a ripple effect. Drivers who head north to enter the city via the Lincoln Tunnel will find not only crowds, but delays from another massive rehabilitation project -- the Port Authority's ongoing upgrade of the entrance to the Lincoln Tunnel known as the helix. Meanwhile, NJ Transit has reached maximum capacity and can't run additional trains into Penn Station. The PATH system is similarly burdened.

As Jeffrey Zupan, a senior fellow with the Regional Plan Association, puts it: "The automobile options are now worse for two years, and there's no relief in site from point of view of a new rail crossing."

Zupan is referring to the ARC project, an $8.7 billion trans-Hudson tunnel that, when completed, would have boosted rail capacity between New Jersey and New York. Construction on the new tunnel began in 2009 -- only to be cancelled in 2010 by New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, who said the state couldn't afford it.

Christie is using the money set aside for the ARC tunnel to shore up roads and bridges in the state -- among them, the Pulaski Skyway.

Preliminary work is underway on a study for the next iteration of a new rail tunnel -- this one known as Gateway -- but shovels are nowhere near ready to turn dirt.

"You've really created a perfect storm of transportation chaos -- you haven't created a new transit option and you've made driving options worse," says Zupan.

Another view of the Pulaski, spanning the Passaic & Hackensack Rivers in Jersey City (CC via wikimedia commons)

The Skyway is named for General Casimir Pulaski, a Polish-born hero of the Revolutionary War. It's on the National Register of Historic Places. And it was also referenced in Orson Welles' 1938 radio drama War of the Worlds. "The enemy now turns east," reads a line in the script, "crossing Passaic River into the Jersey marshes. Another straddles the Pulaski Skyway."

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Transportation Nation

Holland Tunnel to Reopen to All Car Traffic Wednesday; LIRR Restores Montauk Service

Tuesday, November 06, 2012

 

The shuttered Holland Tunnel on 10/30/12 (photo by Kate Hinds)

The Holland Tunnel will open to all traffic Wednesday morning at 5am.

This marks the first time the tunnel will be fully open since Hurricane Sandy struck the region. The tunnel, which runs under the Hudson River between New Jersey and lower Manhattan, was flooded and remained closed to traffic until last Friday, when a bus lane opened in one tube.

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo and New Jersey Governor Chris Christie announced the opening via Twitter and a press release; it was also confirmed by the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, which owns and operates the tunnel.

The Brooklyn Battery Tunnel (now known as the Hugh L. Carey Tunnel) remains closed due to flooding.

The MTA also announced Tuesday that it's restoring service on the Long Island Rail Road's Montauk Branch between Speonk and Montauk, and will establish bus service between Island Park and Lynbrook.

The LIRR will provide bus service to operate between Island Park and Lynbrook from 6 AM until 9 PM starting Wednesday, November 7. A press release issued by the MTA says buses will make a loop between the LIRR’s Island Park and Lynbrook stations – making stops at Oceanside, East Rockaway, and Centre Avenue stations along the way. Train connections to and from the bus loop can be made at Lynbrook Station.

For more information, visit our Transit Tracker.

 

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Transportation Nation

TN Moving Stories: Apple Renovates Transit Station, Body Scanners Now at JFK, and Latest On ARC Tunnel

Monday, October 25, 2010

ARC tunnel: still waiting on Gov. Christie's verdict (Star Ledger), which gives reporters time to wonder: has the U.S. lost its appetite for visionary infrastructure projects? (AP via the Lehigh Valley Express-Times)

Los Angeles Times architecture critic writes that the debate about LA's development is more polarized than ever: "I am convinced that the gap between those who welcome additional density and crave mass transit and those who are on guard against such change is widening, and indeed will come to define the political landscape in Los Angeles for the next decade or two."

The Washington Examiner doesn't like how DC is spending its transpo money: "Washington-area officials plan to spend two-thirds of future transportation dollars on improving the region's public transit systems, despite estimates that public transit accounts for less than 10 percent of area travel."

Your Holland Tunnel commute will get worse for the next, oh, five years, while lanes are shut for water main repairs (Star Ledger)

Body scanners now at JFK; other NYC area airports to get them soon. (New York Daily News)

Italy orders Google to clearly mark their "street view" photo collecting cars, as well as give the public advance notice and an itinerary. (Reuters). Jalopnik says: "This is a godsend for fame-hungry costume-dressing Street View pranksters."

Apple opens store in Chicago's Lincoln Park neighborhood, renovates area train station that was "once...so dingy that riders would travel one stop farther on the Red Line, or get off one stop early, just to avoid it." (Chicago Tribune)

A crocodile was responsible for plane crash earlier this summer in the Congo (NPR).
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Transportation Nation

TN Moving Stories

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

U.S. DOT says study showing its tough new tarmac delays rule leads to more cancellations is "premature" (AP)

Rendell wants higher license and registration fee, three-cent hike in the gas tax to close PA's funding gap. Unhappy state GOP wants bonds. (Pittsburgh Post-Gazette)

Green "engineers' dreams" on display by Airbus at Farnborough Air Show (Liverpool Daily Post) Boeing posts video of 787 Dreamliner's trip across Atlantic

Nun ticketing sparks concern about Holland Tunnel traffic enforcement (DNAinfo) while cop gets slapped with assault charges and reckless driving for driving the wrong way, hitting a cyclist, and leaving the scene (Gotham Gazette)

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