Gridlock alert near George Washington Bridge

July 16, 2012 9:15:39 AM PDT
Commuters are bracing for gridlock as construction on the Alexander Hamilton Bridge, which connects Manhattan and the Bronx and is the go-to route for New Jersey drivers headed to the George Washington Bridge, will mean at least three months of brutal traffic.

So how bad will it be? Gruesome. It's a three-month, $400-million, 24-hour-a-day job. Workers will be replacing the deck and reinforcing the steel on the Alexander Hamilton Bridge, which will mean gridlock on the George Washington Bridge, the world's busiest bridge.

The work began Saturday night, and on Sunday afternoon, Eyewitness News saw what lies ahead. EMTs abandoned their ambulances under the towers and ran through traffic to help victims of a two-car crash on the snarled approach to the Alexander Hamilton. That's the sort of dilemma eastbound drivers will face until mid-October as they head for the Cross Bronx Expressway and the Major Deegan.

"You can never underestimate what will happen between New Jersey and New York," one driver said. "Things happen all the time, and you just have to take it."

Many motorists are considering other routes to alleviate the traffic.

"We can take the Lincoln Tunnel or we can take the Tappan Zee," a woman said. "But we're definitely going to avoid this, for sure."

It's lower deck traffic that will suffer the most, cut down to just one lane to get across the Alexander Hamilton. The backup though will be felt far back into New Jersey, especially in Leonia and Fort Lee.

"We're going to have to take the extraordinary step of trying to slow down traffic and even shutting down some of the local roads to make sure we don't become a shortcut for the world," Fort Lee Mayor Mark Sokolich said.

"It's going to be a disaster for a lot of people," business owner Robert Posicco said. "That five-mile delay is going to be unbearable."


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