DOT urges drivers to find alternate routes during Route 495 construction

Posted: Updated:

New Jersey Department of Transportation officials are urging drivers to try to avoid Route 495 as much as possible during a construction project expected to last over two years.

One lane on either side of the Route 496 Bridge in Hudson County will shut down Friday night for the rehabilitation project. Route 495 is the highway that leads into the Lincoln Tunnel heading to New York City.

“I hate to say if you have to go to New York, don't. But there will be moments in time when people may feel that way,” says DOT Commissioner Diane Gutierrez-Scaccetti. “There are plenty of options to get into the city that don’t have to involve the Lincoln Tunnel and whatever we need to do to educate folks that’s what we'll be doing over the next two and half years.”

MORE: Route 495 Rehabilitation Project - Project & Traffic Information

The DOT says that anyone who needs to head to Manhattan by motor vehicle should consider the George Washington Bridge or Holland Tunnel, or take the Goethals Bridge to the Staten Island Expressway.

Officials say that they expected nearby Route 3 to experience backups as well. 

Officials in towns like Secaucus and Weehawken say that they are preparing for an onslaught of heavy traffic.

RELATED: Road closures begin for Route 495 Lincoln Tunnel approach
RELATED: Officials prep motorists for traffic trouble during Route 495 work

“Be respectful of those neighborhoods. Don’t block the box. Follow law enforcement instructions,” Gutierrez-Scaccetti says.

Secaucus Police Chief Kevin Flaherty says that he is preparing his officers to deal with gridlock in town.

“I commute every day so I know exactly what everyone’s pain will be. But our main goal is we have to keep our intersections open so we can get emergency vehicles where we have to get them,” he says.

Flaherty says that the state is currently covering costs for five officers assigned to manage traffic.

But he says that they may need more, especially if traffic proves overwhelming and he needs to consider locking down local roads.

"We’re going to do our best. I know there's going to be some bad days ahead of us the next two and a half years,” he says.

The DOT says that the bridge is 80 years old and needs to be repaired. The department says that the reconstruction project has been planned for years.

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