The eastbound upper level of the George Washington Bridge reopened just before 12noon after an overnight crash involving two tractor-trailers caused massive delays for the morning commute.

 

Tractor trailers involved in an accident on the George Washington Bridge (News 12 New Jersey)

Crews worked for nearly 9 hours to remove the body of trucker Joao Daponta, 59, of North Plainfield from the scene and to seperate the two trucks which were fully intertwined according to ABC 7.

The upper level was completely closed shortly after the 2:15 a.m. accident and delays quickly developed as the morning commute got underway with 60 minute delays on the approaches to the toll plaza around 6 a.m. One lane reopened around 7 a.m. was closed for periods of time as crews worked on the wreckage.

New Jersey Fast Traffic's Bob Williams called it "regional gridlock" as the accident had a ripple effect on a number of highways in north Jersey with many long delays.   including the New Jersey Turnpike, the Garden State Parkway back to Woodbridge,  Interstate 80 and Route 3 leading to the Lincoln Tunnel.

"I've never seen delays like this before," said Williams, who many people tried to circumvent the GWB by taking the Tappen Zee Bridge. "The New York Thruway picked up a lot of extra traffic," said Williams of the delays that stretched for miles in I-287.

"I don't recall a worse morning. It was so bad that traffic on Staten Island was even affected," said New Jersey 101.5 Fast Traffic's Bernie Wagenblast

Delays from the incident were cleared by 1 p.m. on the GWB.

The Record reports that a driver stopped his car on the upper level of the bridge shortly before the tractor trailer accident and jumped. Investigators are talking to the other driver to determine if the parked car played a role in the accident according to ABC 7.

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The Associated Press contributed to this report

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