Traffic Jam


Miserable Summer Ahead For N.J. Commuters As One Lane Of I-495 Shuts Down

June 12, 2018 - 6:05 pm

NORTH BERGEN, N.J. (WCBS 880) -- It is going to be a long, hot summer for commuters who use the Lincoln Tunnel, with one lane on Interstate 495 shut down for a construction project.

NJ Advance Media reporter Larry Higgs reports on commuter issues. As he explained to Steve Scott and Michael Wallace Tuesday, the experience for drivers on I-495 will not be a pleasant one.

“Basically, this is one of those bridges you never know you’re driving over while you’re on it, because it doesn’t look like a bridge. But this is basically – it’s a bridge that goes from Route 3, where Route 3 comes into 295 East, up to Kennedy Boulevard in North Bergen. That’s probably the easiest way people would know it. And it takes Route 495 over Routes 1 & 9, Paterson Plank Road, and a freight line – all things that people don’t know about because they’re driving over it,” Higgs said.

But it is also the site where many buses come in and join the express bus lane, Higgs explained.

Details About The Project

Higgs said the work is unavoidable and mandated.

“This is a project on an 80-year-old bridge, so it’s got to be done. It’s got to be replaced. It’s going to be done in 12 steps – a 12-step program for commuters, and it’s going to affect drivers, and it’s going to affect buses,” he said. “It’s going to be going on for the next two years, and basically, they’re going to be putting on a new bridge deck and doing some structural work to it underneath, so they’re hoping to wrap this up in summer 2021.”

Commuters do not have too many alternatives, Higgs said.

“It’s going to be very bad, because there’s no way around this. You know, even the DOT concedes there is no parallel road nearby that you can use to get around this thing. You know, local streets, they’re not going to really do much for you, and I think, frankly, locals will try to discourage you from doing it anyway. That’s not going to gain any time,” he said.

The NJ TRANSIT system has its own problem, and taking a ferry requires getting down to the waterfront using what else but I-495, Higgs said.

"So what they’re basically telling you to do is to leave earlier. If you have the opportunity to work from home, do that – which many of us would probably do anyway. And if you can use the George Washington Bridge or the Holland Tunnel, they suggest that,” he said.