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New E-Mails Highlight Concerns About Controversial GWB Lane Closures

George Washington Bridge (file/credit: CBS 2)

George Washington Bridge (file/credit: CBS 2)

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FORT LEE, N.J. (CBSNewYork/AP) — New e-mails have surfaced in the George Washington Bridge lane closures back in September, which critics have claimed were ordered for political reasons.

As WCBS 880’s Jim Smith reported, former Port Authority of New York and New Jersey deputy executive director William Baroni and his top aide, David Wildstein, both resigned in the wake of the controversy surrounding the unannounced closures.

A report by the Bergen Record detailed internal e-mails that suggested just two hours after the Fort Lee access lanes were closed off, Baroni and Wildstein were made aware of the chaos that resulted in the streets.

The newspaper obtained e-mails from a Port Authority employee that were sent to Baroni and Wildstein, informing them of complaints by Fort Lee officials who said first responders were delayed in a attending to a missing child case and a cardiac arrest because of the traffic.

The newspaper acknowledged it did not know if there were any e-mail or verbal responses by the Port Authority executives. But critics have said the Port Authority ignored the pleas, and the lane closures went on for several more days.

Democrats claim the lane closures were political payback against Democratic Fort Lee Mayor Mark Sokolich, who would not endorse Christie for re-election – a claim that Christie has denied. Baroni had said the lane closures were part of a traffic study, but the Port Authority’s executive director testified before a New Jersey Assembly panel that there was no study.

The Port Authority executives have admitted that they did not follow agency protocols with the lane closures.

Sokolich has said previously that he was ignored by the authority during the September lane closings.

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