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The temporary, part-time use of the right shoulder of the eastbound Newark Bay-Hudson County Extension as a third travel lane will soon end, and the New Jersey Turnpike Authority is advising drivers to be prepared for heavy congestion in the area as a result.
Starting May 20th, the right shoulder will be coned off, the overhead signals will display a continuous red X, and driving on the eastbound shoulder of the Extension will be prohibited once again.
The Turnpike Authority has been operating the eastbound right shoulder as a travel lane during peak periods since 2014 to provide additional capacity during the long-term closure of the northbound Pulaski Skyway. The New Jersey Department of Transportation closed the northbound Skyway in connection with a $1 billion rehabilitation project. The eastbound Newark Bay-Hudson County Extension provided an important alternate route from Newark to Jersey City and New York during the northbound Skyway’s four-year closure.
The Turnpike Authority has been replacing the deck and making other critical capital improvements on the Newark Bay-Hudson County Extension under a series of construction contracts over the past decade. The Extension was badly in need of those repairs. Some of the work was deferred because it would have conflicted with the Pulaski closure. With the northbound Pulaski now open, the deferred work on the Extension is about to get underway. The part-time use of the right shoulder as a third travel lane must cease in order to facilitate the construction.
This will not be a short-term condition. While the use of the shoulder as a third travel lane during the morning and evening rush hours was very effective in reducing the congestion from the Pulaski Skyway closure, adding a third lane of traffic on the shoulder for the long-term would put a burden on the structures that they were not designed to handle. The construction is scheduled to last for about four years. Once it is complete, the the Extension will return to its normal configuration: two travel lanes and a right shoulder both eastbound and westbound.
The Turnpike Authority is advising drivers to prepare for delays between Interchanges 11 and 14 on the northbound mainline of the Turnpike, between 14 and 14A eastbound on the Extension, and on I-78 eastbound approaching the Turnpike.
Employers and commuters are encouraged to avoid the delays by adopting alternate commuting strategies, including adjusting their travel times to avoid peak morning and evening hours when congestion will be most significant, telecommuting or working at other sites their employers might have available, carpooling, taking alternate routes, or switching to public transit.
Drivers are advised to call 511 or download the SafeTripNJ app for real-time traffic information before traveling in the area. Live views of the highway are available on the Traffic Cameras page of the Turnpike Authority website ( https://www.njta.com/travel-resources/camera-list).
The NJTA Board of Commissioners awarded a $138.8 million construction contract to the Schiavone Construction Co. LLC of Secaucus in January. The work under the contract includes reconstruction of the bridge deck; repair and strengthening of the structural steel; and improvements to the lighting, parapet, and drainage system. The contract covers five structures on the Extension between Interchanges 14 and 14B.
PLEASE NOTE: This is a revised start date. The scheduled start on May 6th has been postponed until May 20th in order to give motorists additional time to plan alternate commutes.