Day 2 of Sandy sees many major bridges and tunnels, much of NJ Turnpike GS Parkway closed
By Peter Samuel
With Hurricane Sandy apparently making landfall with its center over Delaware/southern Jersey there were storm effects from Virginia to Connecticut. A category 1 hurricane over the ocean it was rated a tropical storm as it made landfall today. High winds, flooding from extended periods of solid rain and wind driven high tides saw toll authorities closing facilities from Virginia to New York - a large slab of eastern E-ZPassland.
The most drastic effects were in New York/northern NJ. Only the Lincoln Tunnel remained open for travel between New York and northern New Jersey, mostly the result storm driven high tides. Manhattan's East River crossings to Brooklyn and Queens were largely closed and Staten Island isolated from other New York boroughs and New Jersey.
Major toll facilities closed include:
- seven New York MTA bridges closed during the course of the day including Throgs Neck, Henry Hudson, Marine Parkway, Bronx-Whitestone, Robert F. Kennedy, Cross Bay, Verrazano-Narrows. Also the Queens Midtown Tunnel and the Brooklyn Battery Tunnel were closed because of ther inability of pumps to keep them clear of water
- five of the six Hudson River crossings of the PANYNJ are closed at 8pm Holland Tunnel, Bayonne Bridge, Outerbridge Crossing, George Washington Bridge, and Goethals Bridge. Lincoln Tunnel partially open only, but subject to closure
- all four Philadelphia area bridges over the Delaware River, the Commodore Barry, Walt Whitman, Ben Franklin and Betsy Ross were closed to traffic from Monday afternoon, only emergency vehicles allowed over
- Burlington County's Burlington-Bristol and Tacony-Palmyra bridges downriver from Philadelphia closed
- Maryland's Bay Bridge was closed around lunchtime Monday due to high winds
- Baltimore Beltway's Key Bridge I-695 was closed in the afternoon but reopened in the evening. The Fort McHenry (I-95) and Baltimore Harbor (I-895) remained open throughout, but MdTA advised 45mph maximum speeds on all facilities because of high wind and driving rain. Drivers were urged to avoid travel if possible.
- in southern Jersey the Garden State Parkway was closed south of Exit 63 in Stafford Monday morning and the entire coastal stretch from Woodbridge Exit 129 south to Cape May was closed in the afternoon
- New Jersey Turnpike several sections closed due to flooding/standing water as of Mon 19:30 outer roadway northbound north of Interchange 12 - Carteret-Rahway in Linden. Right and center lanes closed to traffic due to standing water. Flooding on outer roadway in both directions south of Interchange 14 - I-78/US 1&9 in Elizabeth. Right and center lanes closed to traffic due to standing water. One ramp to Goethals Br closed
- Atlantic City Expressway no reports of closure but the 'City' itself at the ocean end is largely flooded by high ocean water and is heavily damaged and largely depopulated
- Delaware Memorial Bridge at southern end of NJ Turnpike closed left lanes reduced speed limits
- all the DRJTBC upper Delaware bridges (PA-NJ) are open this evening although the Scudder Falls I-95 bridge was closed for a period late afternoon. But DRJTBC said it "strongly recommended against travel in the NJ/PA region during overnight hours" because of widespread "treacherous" conditions
- Rhode Island Bridge Authority's Newport Pell and Mt Hope bridges have low speed limits and warnings of possible closures if winds pick up
- in Virginia as of 10pm the Midtown Tunnel in Norfolk and the Hampton Roads Bridge Tunnel remained open but VDOT warned they could be closed without notice if the high tide threatened. The Midtown Tunnel operated by concessionaire Elizabeth River Tunnels was closed from 8am Monday because of the need to close a tide gate but reopened at 4:45pm. The Downtown Tunnel, the alternate for Portsmouth-Norfolk travel remained open throughout.
- the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel remained open but with level 2 wind speed restrictions barring more vulnerable vehicle classes (tel 757 331 2960 for details)
No reports yet of any lasting damage to toll facilities, but this will only be known for sure when inspections are made as the storm winds down.
Here in Frederick MD on the northern fringe of the Washington DC metro area we've experienced over 24 hours of continuous moderate to heavy rain. Winds really picked up here about 5pm today and we're near the center of the storm track.
The storm however is so broad this doesn't mean much in terms of damage and hazards. to midnight Monday we've only had one arc-over power outage - probably a tree limb blown momentarily onto power lines - lasting several seconds, merely requiring computers to be restarted.
But the strong winds can be heard through double glazing and rise and fall in intensity, sometimes rattling windows. A large magnolia tree in the back which normally takes a week to lose its leaves in the fall lost them all in a day.
Forecasts say the next 12 hours will see the storm continue through this area and move gradually north through nearby Pennsylvania and New York.
LATE ADD: The MTAB&T's Brooklyn Battery Tunnel apparently filled with seawater from the tidal surge late Monday.
There's a spectacular AP picture we reproduce nearby of water pouring into the approaches.
The Tunnel had been closed for some time based on weather warnings, so hopefully there were no casualties.
Restoring a tunnel filled with saltwater is likely an expensive and slow business.
TOLLROADSnews 2012-10-29 Monday midnight