Holland Tunnel Traffic Not As Bad As Feared During Repairs After Fire Under Ramp

JERSEY CITY, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — Drivers are heading into the start of a second week with fewer lanes on the Route 139 ramp, which has led to a slower ride out of the Holland Tunnel toward New Jersey.

As WCBS 880’s Mike Smeltz reported Monday, the fire that damaged the route 139 ramp knocked two lanes of the normal five lanes of traffic on the crucial connector roadway.

The New Jersey Department of Transportation was able to get back a lane by using the shoulder. But Enrique Ramirez, general manager of the Holland Tunnel for the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, said five- to 15-minute delays were consistent throughout the week.

“Normal driver volume, what we did see; is that the afternoon peak was lasting a little bit longer than usual,” Ramirez said.

That is still a much smaller impact than what was forecast. When the warning first went out, transit officials told drivers to consider taking a bus or train in instead of their car.

But Ramirez said the traffic warning will stay in place for at least a couple more weeks — the earliest projected time the damaged lanes will be fit for use.

According to arson investigators, the fire that was to blame for it all started late last month involved wooden pallets, mattresses and garbage debris and spread to a parked Port Authority police vehicle then to the bridge.

CBS2 has been demanding answers from the New Jersey DOT, Jersey City police and fire officials about what was burning under the roadway and how it ignited. They say they are investigating whether a homeless encampment there played a role in the fire.

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