JERSEY CITY - Hours before the closure of the northbound Pulaski Skyway, local fire departments anticipated potential emergency situations on and around the 82-year-old roadway.
The span, which connects Newark and Kearny to Jersey City, will force 40,000 daily drivers to seek alternate routes. However, workers will be present and cars will continue to drive on the southbound side.
Officials with the Newark Fire Department say the construction project is risky, and carries the potential for accidents. They are training firefighters how to respond safely during the two-year closure.
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"There's a gap between the northbound and southbound side, a 2-foot gap," says Deputy Chief James Wendt. "It doesn't look that big until you're 85 feet in the air.
Fire departments from three towns, Newark, Kearny and Jersey City, could be called in to respond to emergencies on the bridge.
Newark fire crews are particularly concerned about the narrow lanes that will remain open. "No sidewalk, no shoulder, 18 feet wide, there's no place to run if you've got a car coming at you," Wendt says.
Authorities say if there is accident or emergency during construction, at least 11 agencies will be notified.