Roads across New Jersey were jammed with frustrated commuters stuck in a snowlocked traffic nightmare brought on by the surprising punch of first snowstorm of the season Thursday. Troopers responded to at least 555 vehicle crashes as of late Thursday on roads patrolled by the State Police, according to Sgt. Lawrence Peele, an agency spokesman.
— Montana49 (@ebjanine) November 15, 2018
The state Department of Transportation said a speed restriction was in place on the New Jersey Turnpike from Delaware Memorial Bridge to Exit 8 and 45 mph from Exit 8 to George Washington Bridge shortly before 5 p.m.
Speed restrictions on the @NJTurnpike 35 mph from the Delaware Memorial Bridge to Exit 8 and 45 mph from Exit 8 to George Washington Bridge
— NJDOT (@NJDOT_info) November 15, 2018
As conditions worsened, the Port Authority urged motorists to avoid the George Washington Bridge, where a multiple vehicle crash had already snarled traffic and left drivers stranded .
Oops!! the winter weather has started. The GWB is a total lockdown. Expect Heavy traffic. pic.twitter.com/uYP0N067ka
— NYC Scanner (@NYScanner) November 15, 2018
Video shared on social media showed multiple vehicles, including two trucks, part of the crash scene on the eastbound side. “I couldn’t stop, it’s so slippery in here,” one person says in the clip, captured from the GWB’s upper level. It wasn’t clear if the strength of the storm took road crews by surprise. Authorities were holding traffic on the westbound upper level of the GWB as crews worked to clear icy roadways, an agency spokeswoman said around 4:30 p.m. Heavy traffic was reported on the span’s lower level as well. Motorists should take the Holland and Lincoln Tunnels instead, the spokeswoman said. Likewise, the Bayonne Bridge was closed because cars couldn’t make it up the steeper incline of the new span.
— Jennifer Lynam (@jml8682) November 15, 2018
Officials with the Port Authority and State Police said there were no immediate reports of any serious injuries from the crashes. In an interview with News12, Gov. Phil Murphy said “no forecast predicted” the heavier snow fall and crews were responding to clear roadways. “Patience is the word of the day,” Murphy said. “Folks are out there aggressively doing the best they can….Mother Nature has thrown us a tough one tonight.”
This. Is. Awful. I-287 south towards rte24. Barely moving. pic.twitter.com/wVmkZx7AFG
— Dave Curren (@DaveCurren) November 15, 2018
In Hackensack, firefighters responded to numerous crashes during the storm, the fire department said. Photos from the Bergen County city showed cars that ended up on a lawn and hit a pole.
Companies out operating multiple motor vehicle accidents throughout the city. Please try to avoid driving if possible tonight. Please allow extra time if you do need to commute home from work @HackensackPD @ABC7NY @NBCNewYork @brian4NY @fox5ny @njdotcom @northjersey #snow pic.twitter.com/0nMwV570U9
— Hackensackfirenj (@HackensackFDNJ) November 15, 2018
South Brunswick police said via Twitter the season’s first snow storm created “created havoc on the roadways.”
The First Snow Storm created havoc on the roadways. Over 67 crashes / disabled vehicles so far. Here is what it looked like for all the officers working – pic.twitter.com/y0lnGxKYLw
— So Brunswick PD (@SoBrunswickPD) November 15, 2018
“Evening rush hour remains at a crawl on most roadways. All roads are passable at reduce speeds,” the department said in a statement.