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Commuters survive first morning of Pulaski closure

Published on NewsOK Modified: April 14, 2014 at 11:28 am •  Published: April 14, 2014
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JERSEY CITY, N.J. (AP) — It wasn't "car-mageddon." In fact, the first weekday commute with the inbound Pulaski Skyway closed wasn't much different from a normal Monday.

School vacations and a holiday week combined to keep traffic light and give commuters a break from what figures to be a long haul for those who use the 82-year-old span to drive into Jersey City or lower Manhattan. Inbound traffic will be detoured for the next two years for repairs. The bridge officially closed Saturday.

"We're somewhat surprised, to say the least," Jersey City Mayor Steven Fulop said as he stood in front of a bank of video screens at the city's emergency management headquarters that showed intersections in the city where backups were expected to form. Midway through the morning commute, traffic moved smoothly on all the screens.

"This is kind of like a dress rehearsal for next Monday," Fulop added. "But the dress rehearsal is going well."

Transportation officials were urging commuters to carpool or take rail, bus or ferry. New Jersey Transit and PATH were offering additional train service or expanding capacity on regularly scheduled trains. An NJ Transit spokesman said there were no reports of overcrowding or delays on trains traveling through the affected areas, and a PATH spokesman said ridership actually was down by about 4,500 riders compared with last Monday. A spokesman for New York Waterway said ridership totals weren't available yet for its high-speed service from Monmouth County to lower Manhattan.

Police officers were visible at numerous intersections along Communipaw Avenue, a main artery stretching toward downtown Jersey City. The city is deploying more than 50 officers for traffic control, funded by the state transportation department. James Shea, Jersey City's director of public safety, said his department was prepared to have the officers available for the entire two-year project but added that he hoped to be able to reduce them once motorists become familiar with the new patterns.

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