Department of Transportation

History and Background

pulaski skyway graphic

The construction of the Pulaski Skyway began as part of a larger 13 mile Route 1&9 Extension project in the 1920s. Its design improved traffic flow from Newark to Jersey City and reduced transportation costs. The Pulaski Skyway is included in the National Register of Historic Places because of its age, length and unique design features.

Designed by New Jersey Department of Transportation (NJDOT) Engineer Sigvald Johannesson, it was named for General Casimir Pulaski, the Polish-born hero of the American Revolutionary War, on the anniversary of Pulaski's death. Pulaski, known as the “Father of the American Cavalry,” formed an independent cavalry called the Pulaski Legion and fought in Haddonfield, Little Egg Harbor and New Jersey Osborn's Island. He was mortally wounded in a battle and died in 1779 at age 31.

Looking northwest, the Pulaski Skyway rises over the Passaic River photo
Looking northwest, the Pulaski Skyway
rises over the Passaic River.
on November 23, 1932. It is a vital feature of the northern New Jersey transportation network, linking Jersey City, South Kearny and Newark. The eighty year old, elevated bridge is composed of a series of different types of structures that carry Route 1&9 over the Hackensack and Passaic Rivers, the New Jersey Turnpike, several railroads and industrial facilities. It serves as an express link for car and bus traffic to and from New York City and destinations farther north on Route 1&9, carrying 74,000 vehicles a day.

The Pulaski Skyway is a 3.5-mile long steel structure, with two main river-crossing spans of 550 feet in length. Each of these spans is a cantilevered Pratt truss. The typical roadway section of the Pulaski Skyway consists of four 11-foot lanes, two in each direction, with no shoulders. A center barrier prevents cross-over collisions, and two-foot wide safety walks extend along both outer lanes. Pedestrians are not allowed on the Pulaski Skyway.

The Skyway rises high above the Meadowlands, with the spans over the rivers providing ships with 135 feet of high tide clearance. It passes over an industrial area in Kearny, Hudson County, on an elevated causeway and crosses the New Jersey Turnpike in Newark, Essex County. Access ramps provide connections from the Pulaski Skyway and local streets in Jersey City, Kearny, and Newark.

Several alterations to the original structure have been made over the years, including the addition of new ramps to and from South Kearny. The last rehabilitation of the Pulaski Skyway was performed in 1984.

The structure is in need of major repairs due to deterioration that has occurred over time.

Last updated date: November 18, 2020 3:14 PM