1st day of Pulaski closure goes uneventfully

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JERSEY CITY, N.J. (AP) - The first day of the two-year closure of the inbound Pulaski Skyway arrived Saturday, though the real test of the new traffic patterns won’t come for a few more days.

On Saturday, minor backups developed in some areas around Jersey City, but overall traffic was light.

The decaying, 82-year-old bridge is undergoing a $1 billion face-lift that will close the inbound lanes for two years. The state transportation department is urging commuters to take public transportation, and New Jersey Transit and the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey are expanding rail capacity to handle the overflow.

New traffic patterns are in place in parts of Jersey City as well. Dozens of extra police officers will be deployed to assist with traffic control.

The 3.5-mile steel truss bridge is an iconic New Jersey symbol, featured in Orson Welles’ 1938 broadcast War of the Worlds, and in the opening credits of the television series The Sopranos. It carries about 10,000 vehicles inbound during the morning commute and about 74,000 in both directions in an average day.

Transportation officials and the mayors of Hoboken, Jersey City and Newark urged travelers to take advantage of alternatives on the road or via mass transit.

The New Jersey Turnpike’s Newark Bay extension will have an extra inbound lane open during the morning commute, and the Routes 1 & 9 truck route is another alternative.

Extra trains and additional capacity are being offered by New Jersey Transit and PATH during the morning commute, and ferry service is available from Monmouth County to Jersey City and Manhattan.

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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