FORT LEE, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — A lot of commuters will tell you the ride from New Jersey to New York isn’t fun, and now, some drivers say a reconfigured access point to the George Washington Bridge is causing even more traffic trouble.
As CBS2’s Tony Aiello reported, they want to know why travel lanes were reduced by 50 percent.
The George Washington Bridge is the busiest in the country, and it is getting a $2 billion makeover. It starts with the PIP Helix, the access ramp from the Palisades Interstate Parkway in Fort Lee.
Many drivers say so far, so not good.
“Every morning like from like 6 o’clock, it’s like backed up to like over here by the gas station,” said Yiki Berger.
Berger said conditions are much worse than they were with the old ramp, because it is down to one lane.
Animation by the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey tells the tale. The original helix had two lanes of traffic, which merged near the end of the ramp.
The newly built temporary ramp has just one lane right from the start. Drivers say it made backups much worse as they merge after the toll booth.
“They always find a way to kludge it up!” one driver said.
Aiello had to look that one up. Kludge means “a workaround that is clumsy and inefficient.”
“Going to the city, it takes too long,” another man said.
A Port Authority spokesman said, “Our traffic engineers would disagree,” claiming they are monitoring and “travel times have been unaffected by the single-lane configuration.”
The Port Authority said that configuration is safer. When CBS2 asked for the traffic study that backed that up, CBS2 was advised to file a Freedom of Information Act request.
Officials in Fort Lee are monitoring the situation. They’re worried drivers will use traffic apps such as Waze to detour around any backups on the parkway — putting them on local roads and increasing traffic.
The Port Authority said the single-lane setup is permanent. The new ramp will have it too.
The temporary ramp will be dismantled in two years when the new ramp is complete.