Repairing of a Steel Bridge

The Pulaski Skyway is a very important road of transportation that thousands of people rely on each day, and is a common and heavily used route for many commuters traveling from New Jersey to New York City or vice versa. Over 2 years ago, all the Pulaski Skyway northbound travel lanes were closed to be repaired by the New Jersey department of transportation. The closing of the Skyway has caused several traffic problems throughout many areas, and for thousands of commuters to be affected. The reparation is an intricate and long process and several people are beginning to grow impatient and voicing their concerns with how long it is taking to complete and re-open. Also, this repair project relates to the work of Louise, Irene, and Elisabeth and disagrees with Spelmans outlook on physical repair, mentioned throughout Elizabeth Spelman’s book, Repair. 
The Pulaski Skyway is named after Casimir Pulaski, a Polish military leader who trained American troops during the American Revolutionary war, and was designed by Sigvald Johannesson and opened in 1932. The Skyway connects from the New Jersey Turnpike to the Holland Tunnel in New York, which is a common and heavily used route for many commuters who live in New Jersey and work in New York City.

Work started to be done on the skyway officially in 2007, but 2 years ago in April 2014 all the Pulaski Skyway northbound travel lanes were closed to be repaired by the New Jersey department of transportation. As the construction crews took the deck apart, they found the damage was worse than feared. And along with a bitter winter last year, the project quickly fell behind. The original date for the skyway to be completed and be fully re-opened was early 2016 but now that the crew realized that the damage was worse than expected the project has fell behind and is now not expected to be finished until sometime in 2018–2020, so it is very far behind schedule already. This project is a costly project of a little over 1 billion dollars, but once it is completed it is supposed to last at least another 75 years.
The Skyway has taken on almost 90 years of cold winters and billions of car crossings causing the bridge deck and ramps to break down and need to be completely re-done. Overall, 1932’s “Most Beautiful Steel Bridge”, is one of today’s most corroded, broken down by decades of exposure to salt, water and weather at points, paper thin with gaping holes. Because of this, the construction of the skyway is a long process that involves many steps. The construction crew must completely re-deck all the northbound travel lanes to make them safe to travel. Then, once much of the north bound lanes are completed they will move traffic from the southbound lanes onto a portion of the newly-reconstructed northbound lanes. Then, they will start to work on re-decking all the south bound travel lanes to make them safe to travel, as well. Then, once they re-deck all the southbound lanes they will work on re-decking the ramps leading to the skyway. Then, the final step, once all the re-decking is done, is the painting of the skyway. And, with the cold and long winter coming up all this work will be a lot harder to complete and will most likely be pushed more and more behind the, already delayed, schedule. So overall, the process is a long one, that will take a lot of work and man power to be completed and re-opened (Delmore, 1).

The repair and restoration of the Pulaski Skyway is most related to the repairing done by Louise, Elisabeth, and Irene in chapter 2 of Elizabeth Spelman’s book, Repair. Spelman writes, “Louise, Elisabeth, and Irene do in the art world what in the tailoring trades is called invisible mending. They try to fix a painting in such a way that it will look as if it never had been ripped” (Spelman, 16). The work of Louise, Elisabeth, and Irene is to repair and restore famous works of art. The three women attempt to fix the problems with the object they are working on, making it seem like there was never damage done to the object at all. This is comparable to the work being done on the Pulaski skyway because, the New Jersey department of transportation is attempting to restore the skyway to original form, while also attempting for it to seem like it never had damage done to it in the first place, by completely re-decking and repainting the whole skyway to make it look brand new, or like it had just been built.
The closing and construction of the Skyway is affecting the lives of a lot of people. The closing and reparation has caused a huge amount of traffic problems and for tens of thousands of commuters a day to go completely out of their way to get to their place of work or home residence and to completely manage their time differently. The closing is also causing many people to miss valuable time with their families because of the traffic they must deal with every day. Many commuters have been patiently waiting for the repairs to be safely completed, but with the repairs going on 2 years now and the date of completion constantly being pushed back and the project falling more and more behind schedule each day, commuters are beginning to grow more and more impatient. They understand that the skyway needs to be safe to use, but the skyway is an important road of transportation for thousands and they want to be able to use the time that they are using currently sitting in hours of traffic because of the repairs, for more important things such as work, or with their families.

In Repair, Spelman writes about how physical repair is very simple and common and mainly only affects the object that is being repaired and fixed. She writes, “Perhaps the most obvious kinds of repair are those having to do with the inanimate objects with which we surround ourselves, the clothes calling for mending, the automobiles for fixing, the buildings for renovating, the works of art for restoring.” (Spelman, 1). But, throughout the book Spelman doesn’t account for or address the effect that these physical repairs have on other people or things. In the case of the physical repair of the Pulaski Skyway there are many other things being affected. The Skyway is being physically repaired but this repair is not only affecting the Skyway but it is also affecting thousands of commuters. In an NBC article by Brian Thompson writes, ““It ruins Jersey City, the traffic to take the kids to school adds an extra 20 minutes. Used to be 5 minutes,” said Jersey City resident Harry Massey” (Thompson, 1). As well as, “Marco Victoria, who owns a food cart in downtown Jersey City and is a frequent Pulaski Skyway traveler, said the closures represent missed time with his five children. “I’m looking forward to spending time with my family, but now it’s very hard to go back and forth, it usually takes an hour,” he said” (Thompson, 1). Although Spelman writes that physical repair only affects the object and doesn’t account for or address the effects of these repairs on others people or things, the closing and repairing of the Skyway is affecting a lot more than just the skyway. It is affecting the lives of several commuters in many ways. So, the physical can result in a lot more than just the object being repaired, it can cause a lot more consequences for other people or things. Ultimately, although Spelman writes that physical repair is common and simple and only affects the object that is being repaired and fixed and never accounts for the other things it affects, I would have to disagree because the physical repair and closing of the Pulaski Skyway is clearly affecting a lot more than just the skyway.
 The skyway, when in use, averages about 74,000 crossings each day and now that it is closed its causing people more stress than they need, and more and more people are beginning to grew impatient. The construction has been going on for over two years now and it doesn’t seem that it will be done any time soon. So, the people that have had to rely on the skyway as their road of transportation to work, home, etc. in the past, are going to have to get used to this inconvenience and learn how to manage their time differently so that they can make it to work on time every day and see their families more. The repairing of the Pulaski Skyway is an intricate repair process that once completed it will seem as if it is brand new and that damage was never done in the first place. This is almost identical to the work of Louise, Elisabeth, and Irene of Repair. But, unlike what was written in Repair the physical repairing and closing of the Pulaski Skyway is not only affecting the object being repaired, the skyway, its affecting the lives thousands of people who relied on the skyway as their source of transportation.