2 Separate Projects Under Way On Outbound, Upper Level

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Another rough commute to New Jersey was set to persist into the morning hours Tuesday.

Crews were working on two emergency construction projects on the outbound, upper level of the  George Washington Bridge Monday night — one that was closing down a stretch of the two right lanes, the other disrupting the two left lanes.

Drivers crossing the bridge were facing delays of at least two hours, CBS 2’s Joe Biermann reported.

The work was expected to continue until 5 a.m. Tuesday morning, the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey said.

The emergency closures were announced at around 11 a.m. Monday. The Port Authority had once said it hoped to have the lanes reopened by 2 p.m., but that figure was later revised to 9 a.m. and finally to Tuesday morning.

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Port Authority spokesman Chris Valens told WCBS 880’s Marla Diamond that engineers working to rehabbing the bridge’s steel deck heard an alarming banging sound from under the deck that could have signaled a cracked beam. A crane was needed to complete the repair.

Valens said snow plowing and salting on the bridge over the weekend may have contributed to the problem.

“It’s awful,” driver Javier Gutierrez told CBS 2’s Don Champion. “Just trying to get home, and it’s terrible. What can you do?”

“I was trying to go downtown, but that was miserable,” said motorist Brian Ortiz. “So now I’m trying to go back uptown, and it’s been probably about two hours.”

“Something has got to be done. Absolutely,” added driver Greg Thompson. “I don’t know where all our money is going, but it’s definitely ain’t going to fixing this bridge because this bridge is falling apart.”

Meghan DuBois-O’Connor told WCBS 880’s Marla Diamond that her usual 20-minute commute from the Upper East Side took an hour.

“Normally, it takes a little bit longer this time of the day, but today was horrendous,” she said. “I can’t believe they don’t have that cleared up, especially this time of year.”

The closures affect New Jersey-bound commuters, but not drivers heading from New Jersey to New York.

Motorists heading westbound to New Jersey should consider alternate routes, such as the Lincoln or Holland tunnels, or use the lower level of the George Washington Bridge.

Last week, two upper-level westbound lanes of the span were closed after a metal plate shifted near the middle of the bridge where two large potholes had developed.

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