NJ travel ban lifted, mass transit resumes service
New Jersey's travel ban has been lifted statewide as of 7:30 a.m. The decision came after officials re-evaluated conditions in light of the lower-than-expected volume of snow. But motorists are still being advised to stay off the roads unless their travel is essential.
Port Authority bridges and tunnels have also been reopened, the PA announced. PATH service was to resume at 9:30 a.m.
NJ Transit will operate full weekday service on its bus, rail, light rail and Access Link services on Wednesday, according to a press release from NJ Transit.
"Crews have successfully completed mandatory rail inspections and continue to mobilize bus, rail and light rail employees to ensure full weekday service on Wednesday."
In addition, the Access Link call center has also reopened and is taking paratransit reservations for tomorrow, with trips beginning at 9 a.m., according to NJ Transit. Cross-honoring of NJ Transit tickets and passes on the corporation’s bus, rail and light rail services and private bus carriers in New Jersey began on Monday and will continue through and including Wednesday.
Gov. Chris Christie lifted the statewide travel ban that was initiated prior to the recent snowstorm.
"The State of New Jersey has revoked the statewide travel ban that was put into effect at 11:00 p.m. last evening," a statement from Christie's office said. "The travel ban is revoked in all 21 counties."
The state is still urging most motorists to stay off the roads Tuesday.
"New Jerseyans should continue to stay off the roads whenever possible throughout the day as transportation and public safety officials continue their work to clear the roadways from the snowfall," the state advisory said. "New Jerseyans should abide by all traffic laws and be extremely cautious if they must travel today."
The Port Authority announced re-openings for the George Washington Bridge, Lincoln Tunnel, Holland Tunnel, Bayonne Bridge, Goethals Bridge and Outerbridge Crossing as well as a 9:30 a.m. resumption of service on the PATH rail system. A weekend schedule was to be in effect on PATH until further notice, with service from Newark to World Trade Center and from Journal Square to 33rd Street via Hoboken.
"Minimal flight activity" was projected by the Port Authority at area airports, with travelers advised to check with their carriers regarding all scheduled flights from John F. Kennedy International, Newark Liberty International and LaGuardia airports.
The Port Authority Bus Terminal and the George Washington Bridge Bus Station are open and NJ Transit has announced that it will resume service to the bus terminal at 10 a.m. However, port terminals are to remain closed until Wednesday morning for snow removal.
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New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo has also lifted that state's travel ban in New York City and points north but not for Suffolk County on Long Island, where more snowfall is still expected. Cuomo said drivers should still use extreme caution. Service on New York City buses, subways and trains is expected to restart sometime this morning.
In New Jersey, Gov. Christie had issued the ban for the entire state beginning at 11 p.m. Monday night. The travel ban excluded emergency and public safety personnel as well as utility companies and others assisting in storm preparedness and recovery.
The Port Authority, with Christie's concurrence, closed all trans-Hudson crossings effective at 11 p.m. Monday. This included the George Washington Bridge, Lincoln Tunnel, Holland Tunnel, Bayonne Bridge, Goethals Bridge and Outerbridge Crossing. On closed roads, only authorized emergency vehicles will be permitted.
"Service on the PATH rail system was suspended at 11 p.m. PATH was scheduled to operate regular service through Monday evening’s rush hour and then run a weekend schedule until 11 p.m. Monday night, according to a statement issued by the Port Authority. "These closures are to ensure safety before the height of the storm," a statement from the agency advised. "The Port Authority will look to resume service when conditions permit."
SEPTA rail, including its West Trenton line, was to operate on a Saturday schedule.
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New Jersey Department of Transportation spokesman Keith Israel said Monday afternoon commuters "took to heart" Gov. Christie's advice to leave as early as possible, which led to a spread-out, lighter-than-normal commute. Blacktop was still visible on many of the DOT's roads according to Israel, who said there were no particular trouble spots.
New Jersey Fast Traffic's Tom Rivers said that there was a lot of "slush and slop" building up on roads around the state Monday.
Speeds were reduced to 45 miles per hour from the Delaware Memorial Bridge at the southern end of the New Jersey Turnpike to exit #8A in Jamesburg and then 35 MPH the rest of the way to the George Washington Bridge. The Garden State Parkway had similar speed reductions from south to north as well. The Betsy Ross and Commodore Barry Bridges have dropped their speeds to 35 miles per hour.
Christie warned drivers to "stay off the roads allows our first responders & public safety officials to safely respond to any emergency situations," on Monday night and Tuesday.
New Jersey State Police warned that vehicles left abandoned on state roads and interstates will be towed by state, county and local police.
Meanwhile, New York governor Andrew Cuomo put a storm-related travel ban into effect on all roads in 13 counties including New York City and Long Island at 11 p.m., along with a shutdown of the city's subway system and commuter rails. Cuomo said only emergency personnel would be allowed on roadways after that point. Anyone else caught driving will be issues a summons for up to $300.