George Washington Bridge lanes open again after emergency repairs

Joe Torres reports from the Upper West Side
December 17, 2013 2:28:20 PM PST
All lanes on the upper level of the George Washington Bridge are open again Tuesday after emergency repairs made for a traffic nightmare Monday.

The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey had to close two upper-level westbound lanes so crews could complete the work.

The repairs came less than a week after more emergency roadwork on the bridge snarled traffic and one month after three lanes heading into New York City had to be closed.

Portions of the bridge remained closed overnight for the repair work, reopening early in the morning hours.

The lane closures affected New Jersey-bound commuters, but did not impact commuters traveling from New Jersey to New York City.

The closures caused major traffic delays on all outbound approaches to the bridge, making many commuters furious.

Ramon Diaz is the 2nd generation owner of the Floridita restaurant in Harlem. His 8-mile commute to Englewood normally takes 15-20 minutes. Monday night? Nearly five hours.

"I went downtown to drop off my daughter at 90th Street. It took 2 and a half hours to get back to 125th Street and then this was just a parking lot," said Diaz. "125th, 12th Avenue, the Henry Hudson, just a parking lot."

The short scamper from Diaz's restaurant to the 133rd Street entrance of the northbound West Side Highway took us about 60 seconds Tuesday.

Lance Talton, who works right next door at Dinosaur Barbeque and also lives in Englewood, said those same eight blocks took 20-30 minutes Monday night. He tried going mass transit. That didn't work out so well.

"It was about an hour and a half wait for the bus to get from under the terminal," said Talton. "So we're sitting there waiting to move so we could move from under the terminal to even get to the street."

From the West Side to the East Side and every northbound artery in between, it was wall to wall traffic Monday night.

Both Talton and Diaz told us their food joints definitely saw extra people but not extra business.

"I've been sitting in my car for three hours, let me have a cup of coffee and let me use your bathroom and get back in my car," said Diaz. ('So it's not like they sat down for dinner?') "Nah, nah, unfortunately not," he said.

"People were spending money that they wouldn't have spent getting into cabs, trying to divert from the bridge and the traffic from the bridge," said Talton.

For up-to-the-minute traffic updates at all Port Authority crossings, motorists are encouraged to sign up for Port Authority alerts at