2 Outbound Lanes Won't Reopen Until Thursday Morning

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Emergency construction was creating delays leading up to the George Washington Bridge in both directions Wednesday night.

Two upper-level westbound lanes of the span were closed just as the evening rush hour was beginning and are not expected to reopen until Thursday morning as a crew work feverishly through the night to repair a metal plate that shifted near the middle of the bridge, where two large potholes had developed. The repairs are not expected to be completed until at least 5 a.m.

Then around 9:30 p.m., an emergency construction crew was blocking at least one inbound upper-level lane, WCBS 880’s Lou Adams reported. It was unclear what the problem was on that side of the span or how long those repairs might take.

Traffic was still crawling on the Manhattan side at 11 p.m., more than six hours after the problem on the outbound lanes was discovered, CBS 2’s Hazel Sanchez reported.

Crews have been working since August to replace all the plates on the upper level, but had not replaced the one that moved Wednesday.

The bridge’s lower lanes remain open in both directions, but there were delays of up to two hours Wednesday evening heading outbound, and backups were beginning to mount eastbound as well.

LINK: Check traffic

Complicating matters further, there was a disabled vehicle on the northbound West Side Highway ramp leading to the lower level of the bridge. That vehicle has been removed.

The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey recommends motorists find alternate routes, such as the Lincoln and Holland tunnels. All approaches, however, are experiencing delays, Adams reported.

Last month, two inbound upper lanes of the bridge were closed overnight after problems with an expansion joint there resulted in a 4-foot-by-4-foot section of concrete crumbling away.

Wednesday night’s gridlock left drivers frustrated.

“It was awful,” one man told Sanchez. “It was just backed up. Bumper to bumper.”

“It’s just ridiculous,” another man said. “In a major metropolitan area where people really need to get from Point A to Point B, with that kind of traffic, no one’s going anywhere.”

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