GWB Closure Mystery - New York News

GWB Closure Mystery

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Trenton, New Jersey (My9NJ) -

There is finally an answer as to why three lanes on the Fort Lee side of the George Washington Bridge were closed in September. The answer was given at an assembly hearing by Deputy Executive Director Bill Baroni, Christie’s appointee to the Port Authority.

When this originally happened, Baroni said that the lanes were closed due to a traffic study. A few days later the Executive Director, an appointee of Governor Cuomo from New York, said there was no traffic study or at least not one that he knew of. The lanes were then opened a few days later.

People have been accusing Christie of closing these lanes as political punishment, but Baroni says that’s not the case. At the assembly hearing, Baroni testified that there actually was a traffic study. “This was only a preliminary review. And it took the Fort Lee special lanes from three to one. To eliminate them, took them from three to one. And therefore the result for the rest of the traffic was a reduction, but at the same time, you know, we’re being honest with each other, it also resulted in an increase in traffic in Fort Lee,” he said.

Baroni says that of the twelve lanes on the George Washington Bridge, those three lanes were partitioned off every morning just for people who were coming from the ramp near the lanes. This created a special entrance for the three toll lanes for those people.

Assemblyman John Wisniewski doesn’t think that this is fair or beneficial. “As I understand your testimony, these three lanes benefit a very small number of people and the majority of people are inconvenienced by it,” he said.

According to the numbers on E-ZPass, of the people who go through the George Washington Bridge, only 4.5% of traffic is coming from the special lane entrance. Though this amounts to thousands of cars, it pales in comparison to the rest of the traffic on the bridge, and doesn’t justify them getting three lanes out of twelve.

Wisniewski requested that Baroni make the data available to the committee. Baroni agreed to do so after talking to his lawyer.

Baroni also apologized to everyone who was struck in traffic, and for having such bad communication. He said that this won’t happen in the future, though not many people believe him.

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