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Pulaski Skyway Facelift Expected To Cause Traffic Problems In North Jersey

NEW YORK(CBSNewYork) -- More traffic chaos is coming to the Pulaski Skyway.

On April 12, crews will begin two years of skyway rehab on the northbound lanes of the 81-year-old bridge. The project is expected to take two years.

"Right now you see they closed one lane and it is so much of a mess. If they do it will be horrible," Raj Dodeja told CBS 2's Christine Sloan.

State officials said that they have no other choice but to address decades worth of wear and tear on the skyway. The road is safe to drive on now, but may not be for long.

"We're going to be replacing the decks as well as beams that need replacing that are supporting the deck directly underneath it," Assistant Commissioner, NJ DOT, Richard Hammer explained.

The $1-billion project will not only affect drivers who rely on the skyway but also those who use other highways like the New Jersey Turnpike, those roads will be jammed with extra traffic.

The New Jersey Department of Transportation spent the day on Tuesday, holding meetings fro the public because businesses in the Jersey City Heights area will also be affected.

"My concern is, people are going to be cutting through to go to New York City," Jersey City business spokesperson David Diaz said.

The DOT has urged drivers to prepare to use alternate routes like the New Jersey Turnpike Bay Extension, which is also I-78, where an extra lane has been created. Drivers can also use Route 1&9 Truck, or the Turnpike to the Lincoln Tunnel.

But drivers who wait until the last minute could be in trouble.

"If you start going toward the skyway you are going to be directed at that point to 1&9 Truck and 1&9 is congested, but we are going to make imporovements to make it better," Hammer said.

New Jersey Transit will add more trains and PATH trains will run more frequently in a addition to a new bus that will pick up passengers in Union County on Route 22.

One business owner wondered why a new bridge wasn't being built.

"They need more lanes, at the end of the day we are going to have the same number of lanes," he said.

Officials explained that a new bridge would cost billions of dollars and take years to build.

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