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Port Authority Says Motorists That Suffered Flats On GWB Can Be Reimbursed

Says Police Report Provides Instructions; Exposed Finger Joint Repaired
The George Washington Bridge - Nov 13, 2011 (credit: Evan Bindelglass / Special to CBSNewYork)

The George Washington Bridge (credit: Evan Bindelglass / CBSNewYork)

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NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – Furious drivers said a metal joint on the George Washington Bridge tore their tires, leaving them smack in the middle of bridge.

They now want the Port Authority to pay for the damage done during their dangerous drive, CBS 2’s Christine Sloan reported.

It was a terrifying experience in the dark Tuesday night on the GWB for Rena Allen and her husband after they found themselves stranded on the bridge with a ripped tire.

“Right away we knew something happened to the car so we pulled over,” Allen told CBS 2’s Weijia Jiang.

1010 WINS’ John Montone reports


It turns out 19 other drivers experienced the same problem as they drove over an expansion joint, also known as a finger joint. The Port Authority said one of joints in the metal brace that stretches across the road broke and apparently popped up Tuesday night.

“It was crazy. It shook the whole car. It was loud,” Allen said.

The Port Authority said the finger joints pop up because of wear and tear. It’s like your fingers interlocked. Point one finger to the sky. That’s what it looks like to the naked eye on the road.

“It’s a big safety concern. We were all sitting on the end of the bridge,” Allen said.

The finger joints have been present since the GWB was built. It allows the bridge to contract and expand, preventing it from buckling.

The Port Authority shut down the road to make repairs, completing the job at around 2:30 a.m. Wednesday. Allen said she and her husband and other victims drove the rest of the bridge on their rims.

“Everyone got out of their cars, talking, everyone was hoping the Port Authority would pay for this,” Allen said.

According to one tire shop owner, driving on your rims can be costly.

“If you drive on the rim there’s a good chance you’re going to ruin your rim because these rims are aluminum and they ruin very easily and the average rim cost is $300-$350,” Tom Argiro said.

The Port Authority said drivers who hit the exposed metal joint can get a police report that gives instructions on how to file a claim to get reimbursed.

The agency also said it has problems like this every few months, but never this severe.

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