Several lanes and toll booths on the Bronx-Whitestone & Throgs Neck Bridges have been closed as a result of the MTA’s Open Tolling Initiative, causing chaotic delays in The Bronx and Queens
State Assemblyman Mark Gjonaj stood with Assemblyman Michael Benedetto and other community leaders during rush hour Thursday, May 25th, to call on the MTA to immediately implement a plan to ease the traffic nightmare caused by the simultaneous lane closures near the toll booths of the Bronx-Whitestone and Throgs Neck Bridges. Just steps from a jam-packed Throgs Neck Bridge, they and other local officials echoed concerns they raised in a separate joint letter to the MTA.
The letter, also signed by, includes State Senator Jeff Klein, Assemblyman Edward Braunstein, Senator Tony Avella, Assemblyman Michael Simanowitz and Assemblyman Michael DenDekker, urged the state agency to act now.
Since construction began in April as part of the MTA’s Open Roads Tolling Initiative, lane closures at the toll plazas of the two bridges have created a two-borough traffic nightmare, with major backups, doubled commute times, and life-endangering delays for emergency vehicles.
“We write this letter to urge you to immediately take action to alleviate the unfathomable traffic delays caused by the recent, simultaneous construction on the Bronx-Whitestone and Throgs Neck bridges as part of the Open Roads Tolling initiative,” the elected officials said in the letter to Fernando Ferrer, the acting head of the Metropolitan Transportation Administration.
“While the initiative is meant to streamline commutes, the construction process is proving to be a major hindrance to the everyday lives of the residents of Bronx, Queens and commuters at large,” the letter stated.
The elected officials pointed out that because of the two-bridge work, emergency vehicles have had problems responding to calls for help. They cited at least four incidents within the past week where emergency vehicles have either been delayed or totally blocked from responding to calls.
"This is an unacceptable danger to New Yorkers in need of emergency services," the letter read. “It is imperative that the MTA work with the New York City Police and Fire Departments, as well as the city Department of Transportation, to create a plan that will reroute excess traffic and allow the safe passage of emergency vehicles during the construction process.”