NORTH BERGEN, N.J. — It is the bane of tourists and truckers, theatergoers and weekday 9-to-5ers: the congested, pothole-strewn roadway that bisects the teeming towns overlooking the Hudson River before descending into the Lincoln Tunnel to New York City.

In a region known for its soul-crushing gridlock and delay-prone rail system, the 80-year-old Route 495 viaduct connecting the New Jersey Turnpike to the tunnel is where smooth rides come to die daily for more than 150,000 motorists.

And it’s going to get worse.

An estimated 21/2-year rehabilitation project to shore up the bridge and replace the roadway surface will close one lane in each direction, 24 hours per day for about two years.

The New Jersey Department of Transportation is overseeing the $90 million undertaking, which it says will extend the life of the bridge by 75 years.

Motorists should expect “severe congestion,” DOT spokesman Steve Schapiro said. Schapiro didn’t provide a date for when the closures would begin, other than to say it was scheduled for midsummer.

The increased gridlock could force truckers – who already have seen the bridge and tunnel toll from New Jersey into New York rise to more than $100 in recent years – to seek alternate ways into the city, though their choices are little better. The Holland Tunnel, to the south, bars large trucks, and the George Washington Bridge, to the north, is the second-worst truck bottleneck in the nation, according to a study of truck GPS data by the American Transportation Research Institute.

Ramps from 495 onto Routes 1 and 9, a truck-heavy artery running north-south, will be closed. Southbound motorists will be detoured nearly 2 miles out of their way and through two cloverleaf turns before heading back under 495.

The DOT is urging daily commuters to take public transportation or avoid peak periods.

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