Route 495 construction project gets underway

Posted: Updated:
UNION CITY -

Drivers using the Lincoln Tunnel and surrounding streets may be in for a rude awakening Monday morning as the dreaded Route 495 construction project is now well underway.

No matter what day or time it is, for the next 2 ½ years, one lane in each direction of 495 will be shut down as crews repair an 80-year-old stretch of the bridge deck which was deemed structurally unsafe.

Area business owners say they are concerned how the $90 million restoration project will affect their bottom lines. 

Many of the 152,000 drivers who use the viaduct daily say they are also concerned.

"It's  just crazy.  We don't know what to do. As it is, I commute back and forth a lot... so it's already too much,” says resident Sonny Urbine.

Residents in Union City, North Bergen, Weehawken and Secaucus say they are concerned about the trickledown effect.

"I know people take short cuts to get to New York, and now with that closed, then everybody is taking detours around my neighborhood. It's going to be rough,” says resident Dawn Germann.

Secaucus Mayor Michael Gonnelli, along with other mayors, are working closely with the Department of Traffic to help make the drive more bearable.

“It's going to be tough.  It's going to be real tough. But the bottom line the work has to happen.  It really has to happen.  The bridge is in tough shape,” says Gonnelli.

There have already been reports of bumper-to-bumper traffic on both Saturday and Sunday as early as 6:30 a.m. Bottom line: Avoid using the Lincoln Tunnel.

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