NJ Lawmakers Ask Port Authority to Explain Abrupt Lane Closures at GWB

Thursday, November 14, 2013 - 04:00 AM


New Jersey lawmakers are asking the board members of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey to explain lane closures on the George Washington Bridge the week of September 9.

The closures caused huge traffic jams and came as a surprise to government officials, who are usually notified of future road closures, along with local police, according to Gordon Johnson, a state Assemblyman representing parts of Bergen County.

“Normal protocol when there is going to be construction or changes in traffic patterns, they notify the police and also the elected officials in those surrounding towns,” he said.

“That’s the normal protocol as I understand it as a former sheriff of Bergen County.”

That didn’t happen ahead of the five-day lane closures on the George Washington Bridge.

Commuters were never informed, and were left stuck in traffic for hours.

The city of Fort Lee, NJ – where the bridge is located – was a parking lot. And the mayor and his police officers were not warned.  

According to a letter obtained by the Star Ledger, the Port Authority said lanes were closed because a "traffic safety study" was being conducted.

But two top Port Authority officials, Patrick Foye and Bill Baroni, backed away from that statement after a board meeting in Jersey City Wednesday.

They were asked who was conducting the traffic study and if they knew why the lanes were closed. They were also asked if they could confirm whether or not there even was a traffic study and if Gov. Chris Christie’s top appointee to the Port Authority, David Wildstein, made the decision to close the lanes.

Foye responded to every question like this:

“The matter is under review. When we have something to announce we will.”

Baroni responded by saying, “I’m going to defer to Pat’s statement from a second ago.”

According to the Star Ledger, the mayor of Fort Lee, Mark Sokolich, sent a letter to the Port Authority during the lane closures saying this:

“Without the benefit of a response from the Port Authority, we are reaching the conclusion that there are punitive overtones associated with this initiative… “What other conclusions could we possibly reach?” 

Many have suggested the closures were punishment because the mayor did not support Gov. Christie’s re-election.

State Senator Loretta Weinberg, who is also asking for more transparency from the bi-state agency, said residents are suspicious because they aren’t getting any other answers from the Port Authority.

"Until they give us straight answers there will be a lot more conjecture about it," Weinberg said.


Comments [3]

iMan9796 from New Jersey

This same disgusting corruption and cover-up is commonplace at the Port Authority Bus Terminal's Lost & Found Dept. in NYC concerning lost & found property brazenly stolen by Port Authority Supervisors. Google  “Donna Lebourne abc news" & see the vile face of shame being confronted & exposed for the world to see.

Port Authority Supervisor Donna Lebourne has an outside job, she is the Vice President of her & her husband’s charity Caribbean Sports International that donates cellphones & other electronics.  If you lost an item at the Port Authority Bus Terminal and did not get it back, contact her charity, perhaps she may donate your item back to you out of the kindness of her cold evil heart. It's very easy to be charitable when you are giving away other peoples' property.

Also, the Port Authority of NY & NJ has become a threat to national security and has placed everyone's safety & security in jeopardy, by undermining all the counter-terrorism measures that have been put in place by the United States. They have allowed crimes such as the illegal policy of disposing lost valid passports in the garbage that are found in the Port Authority Bus Terminal. Now just imagine the damage that a terrorist cell could do with those valid lost passports or an identity theft ring. 

What happened in Kenya could easily happen here, or anywhere else in the world for that matter, as a result of the Port Authority's intentional breach of national security. This is a willful act of treason against the United States of America. Google "Port Authority - Passports."

NYC Police Commissioner Ray Kelly agrees with my concerns as well.

In this age of global terrorism and rampant identity theft, the Port Authority is a reckless shameful disgusting embarrassment of bi-state transportation agency when it comes to safety & security in this area. To ignore this gaffe would be a crime on all levels of local, state & federal government, who have the power to put a stop to this lunacy. 

Action must be taken against these corrupt incompetent criminals in the Port Authority before another terrorist attack takes place & more innocent lives are lost due to their utter disregard about our safety and security, not to mention their disgraceful feeling of self entitlement to patron's lost property found at the PABT.
Google “found, stolen, trashed by PA.”

It’s time to stop the madness!

Dec. 11 2013 10:13 PM
Ft Lee resident from Fort Lee

This was not political retribution. Sen. Weinberg is trying to get political retribution by using this as a tool to target Christie. The access lanes into Ft. Lee are not always open. Go to the GWB on any given rushhour and the traffic is the same with or without the lanes open. This is making a mountain out of a molehill. Sen. Weinberg and Co love to get their names in the paper. Nothing to see here

Nov. 18 2013 11:43 AM
TOM from Brooklyn

I think you want to alert the FHWA about these obstructions to the federal highway system's accesses & outlets(spillways). They are the governing authority.
Locals are not to interfere with federal routes. Of course, they might have prior approval.

Nov. 14 2013 03:46 PM

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