New construction to cause commuter headaches

July 12, 2012 4:11:32 AM PDT
New Jersey commuters - your long, hot summer is about to get a whole lot longer.

On Saturday, construction gets underway on the Alexander Hamilton Bridge. It is part of a $407 million repair project for the Harlem River Crossing.

"It's horrible. Even the slightest bit of construction and it back things up forever," said New Jersey commuter Sarah Brady.

The bad news is come Monday morning, traffic engineers predict eastbound rush-hour delays leading up to the George Washington Bridge could reach 5-miles in length. To make matters worse, the project is expected to last three months.

"I don't know if it's something that can be done at night, perhaps after midnight or something to that effect, but it's going to be a nightmare getting into the city. Big time," said New Jersey commuter Kevin Miller.

Adam Levine of NYS DOT says that the construction is the kind of work that has to be done around the clock.

"We actually have to rip up the middle lanes of the Bronx bound side of the bridge, and then take a look at the steel, see what needs to be repaired, repair or replace it, and put the deck back," Levine added.

Small New Jersey towns and boroughs along the I-95 corridor, like Leonia, are bracing for the onslaught of traffic as drivers try to dance around the bottleneck of cars.

"They all try to get up to the bridge via Fort Lee Road, and you go from a six lane highway down to a two lane road," said Jack Terhune, Leonia Boro Administrator.

If there ever was a time for New Jersey commuters to begin taking mass transit or working from home, next week is that time. Unfortunately, that's not an option for Alex Papaioannou. He's a New York City cabbie and he already has an alternate route into midtown ? through the Lincoln Tunnel.

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