View Full Version : Pulaski Skyway To Be Replaced

February 15th, 2007, 03:25 PM
Pulaski Skyway Replacement Being Designed


Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Plans are in the works to replace the 75-year-old Pulaski Skyway, the span that connects Newark and Jersey City and is considered one of the most hazardous roadways in the country, the state's top transportation official said yesterday.

Department of Transportation Commissioner Kris Kolluri said drivers "will get a new structure capable of handling the volume of traffic in a safe and efficient manner," and that new design features "will reflect the needs of the 21st century."

"It is a structure that is structurally and functionally obsolete," Kolluri said of the skyway. "The reality is, it has to get done."

Funding for the Pulaski Skyway "rehab and replacement" plan al lots $10 million each year through 2010 for regular maintenance and repair of the roadway that opened in 1932. In 2011, about $135 million will be allotted as a foundation for the cost of the replacement project, Kolluri said.

"At one point, construction alone was predicted to be close to $1 billion," Kolluri said, adding that he could not say when construction might start.

Kolluri said that over the next several years, the DOT will work up design options for replacing the 3.5-mile structure that cost about $20 million to build and includes two 550-feet spans over the Hackensack and Passaic rivers.

He also said the replacement would be paid from the state Transportation Trust Fund but he hoped a large part would be paid by the federal government. Colluri confirmed that design flaws which now make the skyway so dangerous will be addressed in the design process.

Flaws include entrance ramps that channel cars into the fast lane, poor visibility at entrance ramps, no shoulders, issues of glare and others.


The Pulaski Skyway is on the National Register of Historic Structures.

Wikipedia article on the "Skyway": http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pulaski_Skyway

February 15th, 2007, 03:43 PM
The Jersey Journal


Replacing deadly Skyway is overdue

Thursday, February 15, 2007

The state Department of Transportation will spend the next several years drawing up design options to replace the Pulaski Skyway, an elevated roadway that many consider the most dangerous in the nation. Plans are to replace the 75-year-old structure - and it is long overdue.

Unfortunately, lives have been lost over the past several decades as motorists navigated this hazardous span connecting Jersey City and Newark. This roadway is known for its harrowing flaws that include: a scary fast lane where vehicles often exceed speed limits; no shoulders for any emergencies; poor visibility; serious sun glare; and exit and entrance ramps at several points that create dangerous traffic merges on the bridge.

Constructed at a cost of about $20 million, the Pulaski Skyway is a 3.5-mile bridge with two 550-foot spans that cross both the Hackensack and Passaic rivers. It opened in 1932.

The DOT expects to pay $10 million a year through 2010 for the Pulaski's maintenance and in 2011, the agency expects to budget $135 million for its replacement. Early cost projection for construction of a safer skyway is at $1 billion, but like everything else, one can expect the price tag to balloon as the years go by.

The latest fatal Skyway accident came on Jan. 23, when authorities said off-duty Jersey City Police Officer Kevin Freibott, 39, was driving his Jeep Cherokee while intoxicated and rammed the back of a car that had just gotten onto the Skyway from an entrance ramp. A 2-year-old boy died from his injuries and his 37-year-old mother remains in critical condition.

Many of Hudson County's roads and bridges are a danger to its residents and anyone driving through the county. This is why the state is replacing another major death trap, an aging H. Otto Wittpenn Bridge that spans Jersey City and Kearny, located alongside the Pulaski Skyway.

The Wittpenn complements the Pulaski Skyway as a corridor of death. Earlier last month, a 35-year-old man was the latest killed on the outdated Wittpenn when he drove into oncoming traffic to pass a truck and lost control of his vehicle. In 2000, four former Dickinson High School students died when their car apparently veered into an oncoming tractor trailer on the approach to the smaller bridge in Jersey City. In the 1980s, four nuns died on the bridge in a fiery crash.

The quicker the state acts on these two projects, the more lives will likely be saved.

February 15th, 2007, 05:27 PM
I agree that the road is not the best, but siting a drunk driving accident as proof of it being so is not the best.

The main problem with the road is that it was designed as a 2 lane 45mph roadway, and everyone flies along it at 70!

If they could get people to slow down somehow, it would not be that bad.

I think they should still build another higher-speed roadway for commuters and the like. Hell, maybe find a way to make it a commuter rail transport as well! ;) But it all depends on how much $$ it would take to keep the old one running. Maybe designate it as only commercial transport? Make it a bus-route? Who knows.

February 15th, 2007, 06:01 PM
I hope it gets replaced, but not demolished. It is unnerving and dangerous to drive on, but it's one of the coolest looking structures anywhere.

February 16th, 2007, 09:37 AM
It really is a beautiful structure. So, since it's under the National Register of Historic Structures, does that not allow the bridge to be demolished or is it Landmark Statues that does that?:confused:

February 16th, 2007, 11:47 AM
The National Register of Historic Places (http://www.cr.nps.gov/nr/about.htm) is the Nation's official list of cultural resources worthy of preservation. Authorized under the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966, the National Register is part of a national program to coordinate and support public and private efforts to identify, evaluate, and protect our historic and archeological resources. Properties listed in the Register include districts, sites, buildings, structures, and objects that are significant in American history, architecture, archeology, engineering, and culture. The National Register is administered by the National Park Service, which is part of the U.S. Department of the Interior.

Listing in the National Register (http://www.cr.nps.gov/nr/results.htm) honors a historic place by recognizing its importance to its community, State or the Nation. Under Federal law, owners of private property listed in the National Register are free to maintain, manage, or dispose of their property as they choose provided that there is no Federal involvement. Owners have no obligation to open their properties to the public, to restore them or even to maintain them, if they choose not to do so.

Some States and communities have enacted preservation laws or ordinances that apply to National Register listed properties. To find out about historic preservation laws that may apply to your historic property, follow these links for the address and phone number of your State Historic Preservation Office (http://grants.cr.nps.gov/shpos/shpo_search.cfm), Tribal Preservation Office (http://www2.cr.nps.gov/tribal/thpo.htm), or Federal Preservation Office (http://www.achp.gov/fpolist.html).

In addition to honorific recognition, listing in the National Register results in the following for historic properties:

Consideration in planning for Federal, federally licensed, and federally assisted projects;

February 18th, 2007, 06:10 PM
Pulaski Skyway Replacement Being Designed

. . . He also said the replacement would be paid from the state Transportation Trust Fund . . .

What Transportation Trust Fund, lol

February 25th, 2007, 09:25 PM
News Flash:

It has been reported that they will not be replacing the Skyway. It was rumored that it would eb replaced, but it was later found that they will just be doing extensive renovation and repairs to it but said there are no plans for the immediate future to replace the Skyway whatsoever. The Skyway stays!!!!

August 4th, 2007, 03:11 PM


Below are some recent stories concerning the skyway. The Minnesota bridge collapse has put a renewed focus of the safety of this old bridge. The Minneapolis I-35 bridge was rated a 50 out of 100. The Pulaski skyway is rated a 2.



August 5th, 2007, 02:52 AM

August 5th, 2007, 08:58 AM
All that beautiful trusswork...

August 6th, 2007, 12:30 AM
Pulaski Skyway will undergo a 10 year repair plan.

By the way the Brooklyn Bridge was rated as one of the most unsafe bridges in the country and got a big fat zero!!!!

August 6th, 2007, 01:19 AM
Pulaski Skyway will undergo a 10 year repair plan.

By the way the Brooklyn Bridge was rated as one of the most unsafe bridges in the country and got a big fat zero!!!!

The ramps onto the bridge were rated poor. The bridge itself is fine.

August 6th, 2007, 01:22 AM
Not what I read the anchors on both sides of the river are in poor condition as well. The Brooklyn Bridge as whole got a zero.

August 6th, 2007, 02:53 PM
Not what I read the anchors on both sides of the river are in poor condition as well. The Brooklyn Bridge as whole got a zero.

This is scary.

August 6th, 2007, 07:09 PM
Not what I read the anchors on both sides of the river are in poor condition as well. The Brooklyn Bridge as whole got a zero.

Where did you read that?

August 6th, 2007, 08:50 PM
Not what I read the anchors on both sides of the river are in poor condition as well. The Brooklyn Bridge as whole got a zero.

And Pulaski Skyway got 2 out of 100. I don't see much different.


August 7th, 2007, 03:27 AM
The Daily News

August 8th, 2007, 01:00 AM
At 3.5 miles long and connecting to the two largest cities in New Jersey, it would be awesome if they replaced BUT not demolished this bridge. Kept it as bicycle/pedestrian path. How many joggers do u think would love to have this as a path. They probably do need an upgraded automobile bridge, but demolishing it would be overkill IMHO.

August 8th, 2007, 07:47 PM
Good idea, Urban. I love the black, industrial look of the skyway, but I hate driving on it. I just don't know if the state would pay for the renovation and the upkeep, on top of a new thruway.

August 11th, 2007, 02:53 AM
Skyway repairs to begin in weeks

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Highway crews will begin repairing the Pulaski Skyway in Jersey City later this month, the first phase of construction work that will stretch through the next four years.

The Skyway, which carries the cars-only lanes of Routes 1&9 between Newark and Jersey City, has an extremely low "structural sufficiency" rating
Highway officials said the repairs had been scheduled to start this summer even before last week's bridge collapse tragedy in Minnesota. The work, the first phase of $165 million in repairs that will run through 2011, is not an indication of any recent problems detected at the crossing, officials said.

To reduce the impact on traffic, the bridge repairs will be done on weekends only, from 9 p.m. on Fridays to 6 a.m. Mondays. The normal traffic configuration will be in effect on weekdays.

August 27th, 2007, 07:48 AM
Monday, August 27, 2007 By TOM FEENEY

12-month repair job begins this week
The $10 million, 12-month job to repair the Pulaski Skyway begins this week - but when it's over, it still won't be fixed.
Workers will replace part of the bridge deck and some of the railings, spot-paint exposed steel, remove crumbling concrete casings and repair pier caps and parapets along the 3.5-mile long span.
But the work still won't be finished.
In fact, even five years from now, after the Department of Transportation has spent an additional $40 million on planned repairs, officials concede the best they can hope is that the bridge will no longer be "structurally deficient" but merely "functionally obsolete."
"From a current design perspective, almost every element you have in the Skyway is substandard," State Engineer Brian Strizki said in a recent interview. "You have narrow lanes, no shoulders, high (traffic), problems with deck geometry, problems with acceleration lanes and deceleration lanes, sight distance problems. The list goes on. . . . In every area, the Skyway comes up short."
The Aug. 1 collapse of the Interstate 35W bridge in Minneapolis brought a sharp focus on the Pulaski Skyway because of similarities between the two spans. The 75-year-old Skyway is of the same outdated design as the 40-year-old Minneapolis bridge. Inspectors declared both bridges "structurally deficient." And engineers classified both as "fracture critical," meaning they have one structural element that, should it fail, could cause the entire span to collapse.
The National Bridge Inspection Program requires that bridges be inspected at least once every other year. An inspection entails testing and visually examining every structural element. The field work for the Skyway inspection usually takes four months or more, and the final report is more than a foot thick, Strizki said.
Citing homeland security concerns, the Department of Transportation denied a Star-Ledger request to examine the Skyway's most recent inspection report.
Bridges are classified by county in the National Bridge Inspection Program. Because the Skyway is in both Hudson and Essex counties, it is listed as two individual bridges and given two separate sets of grades in the bridge inspection database, Strizki said.
Both grades are grim. The longest part of the Skyway - the part in Hudson County - was given a sufficiency rating of 2 out of 100. The part in Essex County scored a zero.
The DOT has been studying the possibility of replacing the Skyway, but it would be an enormous undertaking - hugely expensive and complicated by environmental issues and the span's status as a historical landmark, Transportation Commissioner Kris Kolluri said. A new bridge would cost more than $1 billion, he said.
Kolluri has no doubts about spending $50 million on Skyway repairs, which were scheduled long before the Minneapolis bridge collapse.
"Even if we decide we're going to replace the bridge today, it would take several years before we would have a new one," he said. "There's no doubt we have to spend the money that is currently allocated."

September 2nd, 2007, 05:39 PM
I actually like the skyway... its dangerous but its unique... I think they could increase the safety of the skyway a lot by closing the on and off ramps for Broadway and by redesigning the traffic circle at Tonnele Ave....

September 2nd, 2007, 05:53 PM
I actually like the skyway... its dangerous but its unique... I think they could increase the safety of the skyway a lot by closing the on and off ramps for Broadway and by redesigning the traffic circle at Tonnele Ave....

I agree. The skyway is one of the coolest highways around.

February 26th, 2008, 11:00 PM
Extra work will lift this year's tab to $40M, officials say

Tuesday, February 26, 2008
Star-Ledger Staff

The cost of fixing the aged, crumbling and heavily traveled Pulaski Skyway will be tens of millions of dollars higher than the Department of Transportation originally believed.

The department started work last summer on the $10 million first phase of a rehab project intended to keep the bridge sound for the decade or longer it would take to replace it.

But once work started, DOT officials said yesterday, they realized the Skyway was in need of a more urgent and expensive overhaul, one that will cost close to $40 million this year alone. They plan to shift $30 million from other bridge and road projects to cover the difference, and they expect to have to spend more money in future years.

"There's only so much money to go around," said Tom Wospil, DOT's director of capital investment. "We're back to the same old math problem: If something goes up, something else must go down."

The Pulaski Skyway has played a central role in the public discourse over New Jersey's aging infrastructure since the Interstate 35W bridge in Minneapolis collapsed in August, killing 13 people.

The Skyway, which crosses the Hackensack and Passaic rivers from Jersey City to Newark, is of the same outdated design as the Minneapolis span and is more than 30 years older. On the 0-to-100 scale that bridge engineers use to measure a span's ability to carry traffic, the section of the Skyway in Hudson County scores a 2. The section in Essex County scores a 0.

When work started last summer on the DOT's $10 million rehab project, lanes at the eastern end of the 3.5-mile Skyway were closed, giving DOT inspectors a chance to look more closely at the deck. They found it in worse shape than they had thought, the deputy state transportation engineer, Richard W. Dunne, said yesterday.

The surface of the roadway was badly cracked and spalled, Dunne said. The bond between that surface and the bridge deck below it was weakening.

Despite the additional problems found on the surface, officials say they still believe the span is perfectly safe for the 85,000 motorists who cross it every day.

The Minnesota bridge collapse was blamed on the failure of undersized gusset plates. The plates in the Skyway are not undersized, Dunne said.

The $10 million project called for deck repairs on only part of the span, but department engineers determined a harsh winter could do irreparable harm to the surface unless the entire length were repaired, Dunne said.

In addition, when the estimated cost of rebuilding the Skyway ran to $1.2 billion, DOT officials realized they would have to make the existing structure last longer, officials said. That will mean improving drainage on the road surface and making repairs to the steel structures beneath the deck, he said.


The state is not likely to have the money to rebuild or replace the Skyway anytime soon. New Jersey officials expect federal transportation funding to be flat in the coming years; the state's own Transportation Trust Fund will be insolvent by 2011 without action.

Gov. Jon Corzine's plan to sharply raise tolls on the Turnpike, the Garden State Parkway and the Atlantic City Expressway was intended to pay down state debt and provide long-term funding for transportation projects, but the plan has proved unpopular with the public and lawmakers.

"The governor is working to create a long-term, fiscally responsible mechanism for sustained transportation funding," DOT spokeswoman Erin Phalon said yesterday.

In the meantime, the DOT hopes to fund the Pulaski work by robbing Peter to pay Paul. It has asked the North Jersey Transportation Planning Authority for permission to shift money set aside in the capital plan for 11 other road and bridge projects.

Those 11 projects would not lose their money, Wospil said. The funds would just be pushed back another year. The NJTPA tabled the request yesterday and won't make a decision until next month.


Tom Feeney may be reached at tfeeney@starledger.com or (973) 392-1790.

February 27th, 2008, 01:24 PM
Kept it as bicycle/pedestrian path. How many joggers do u think would love to have this as a path.

OMG don't I wish. I'm totally in love with the Skyway. It's one of my favorite NJ landmarks. And as a recreational cyclist I would LOVE a great/easy way to cycle across the Meadowlands without risking death on Route 7 or taking my bike on PATH. However, like Radiohead said, with the state of NJ's TTF, it would be entirely unfeasible.

I actually like the skyway... its dangerous but its unique... I think they could increase the safety of the skyway a lot by closing the on and off ramps for Broadway and by redesigning the traffic circle at Tonnele Ave....

I'd kill for a "fixed" Tonnele Circle. What a mess. I drive through it all the time and still screw up sometimes (an unforgiveable error if you end up headed through the Covered Roadway!!!). The ramps at Broadway? That's how I get home! In fact the world would be a better place if more people got off at Broadway instead of Tonnele Avenue.

June 27th, 2008, 03:47 PM
I don't know how we can make the Pulaski Skyway less dangerous without demolishing it. If I say that a viaduct is dangerous and you say that it can't be torn down, you're making tis issue more complicated.

June 30th, 2008, 03:06 PM
The PS would be really hard to dismantle. Keep in mind, this is not spanning a waterway, you can't just demo it and pull th epeces out of the water, you have to dis-assemble the entire thing which may take longer than its original assembly!

I think the first thing thay should do is get rid of those mid-span center entrances. Fast or not, having people merging from the left on a small little acceleration lane on a two-lane heavily trafficed road is an accident waiting to happen.

After that, the only other thing that would probably make sense would be the construction of a sister-viaduct that would take the heavy traffic off of the other. There will always be traffic on it, but less would make things a bit less hairy on there.

Depending on the budget, it could even be built to a size that would allow the closure of the existing skyway. Removal of some of the simpler spans would not be difficult, and maintainance of the trusswork might be easier if we did not have to really worry about load bearing capacity (make it a historical piece rather than an old old overloaded bridge.)

Who knows. No easy solution without $$.