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Motorists Cope With Pre-9/11 Security Checkpoints Across NYC

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NYPD officer inspects truck at Times Square (credit: CBS 2)

NYPD officer inspects truck at Times Square (credit: CBS 2)

Tony Aiello thumbnail Tony Aiello
Tony Aiello serves as a CBS 2 general assignment reporter. After...
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NYC Remembers 9/11

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Security checkpoints in place at bridges, tunnels and other sensitive locations across the Big Apple are making driving a chore, but motorists say they’re choosing safety over convenience.

“They’re doing a good job for the people to be safe. You know, we live in a dangerous world, never know what going to happen,” truck driver Arthur Sarkasian told CBS 2’s Tony Aiello on Friday.

CBSNewYork Special Report: Remembering 9/11/01: 10 Years Later

Police used license plate readers to search for suspect vehicles, sending patrol data back to the counter-terrorism center in Lower Manhattan, where security officers and high-tech computers monitor hundreds of camera feeds for possible threats.

“They need it. You got to do it. You got to do it,” another driver said.

On the West Side Highway, three lanes of southbound traffic were funneled into one at Canal Street so police could check vehicles for suspicious items and activity.

“Of course it’s an inconvenience, but it has to be done,” one driver said.

“I’d rather be safe than sorry,” another added.

The heightened security is in response to intelligence suggesting al Qaeda plans to mark the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 terror attacks by detonating car bombs on bridges and in tunnels.

At Penn Station, Transportation Security Administration agents set up shop with explosive-detection equipment. Bags were swiped and samples were analyzed right on the spot.

Guardsmen were also on patrol at the Port Authority Bus Terminal and checking the air for traces of biological and chemical weapons.

In the subway station below, some riders waiting for trains were more nervous than others.

“I feel a lot of anxiety. I was on the R train, I started to feel a little nervous, I got off,” said Sandy Crawford of Bay Ridge. “If I see something, I’m calling.”

Do you think the checkpoints are an overreaction? Sound off in our comments section below…

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