WASHINGTON HEIGHTS — Late night and early morning commuters beware: overnight repairs to the George Washington Bridge could cause headaches for motorists for the foreseeable future.
Starting Monday night, repair work on the bridge's upper level will force the overnight closure of three lanes in either the eastbound or westbound direction for the rest of the year, a Port Authority spokesman told DNAinfo New York Monday.
The closures, which will leave just a single lane of traffic open in the affected direction, are expected to cause delays of up to an hour, the spokesman said.
In other words, drivers should try to stay away, he added.
"We're trying to divert as many cars as possible to the lower level or to alternate routes," said spokesman Chris Valens. "Early on we're expecting 45- to 60-minute delays. As drivers change their habits the delays will decrease."
The closures are necessary to allow the authority to replace 623 steel and concrete panels on the bridge's upper level. Valens said the $27 million repairs were packed into a tight schedule in order to get them done as quickly as possible.
The closures will alternate between the two directions approximately every two weeks, and most of the shutdowns will occur between the approximate hours of 11 p.m. and 5 a.m.
Here's a complete breakdown of the changes:
► Westbound Lanes: Closed Aug. 5-10, Aug. 24 and Aug. 26-30.
► Eastbound Lanes: Closed Aug. 12-17, Aug. 19-23, Sept. 3-6 and Sept. 9-13.
► Monday through Thursday shutdowns in August will take place between 11 p.m. and 5 a.m., with Friday shutdowns occurring between 12 a.m. and 9 a.m.
► In September, Monday through Thursday shutdowns begin at 9 p.m. and Friday shutdowns stretch from 10 p.m. to 9 a.m.
► The lane closures will also be staged around New York Yankees games so that customers can get to and from the games with as few delays as possible.
"Obviously we don't want to be going eastbound when Yankees are home and playing night games," Valens said.
For a full breakdown of the lane closures, visit the Port Authority website.