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Truck crash snarls commute out of NYC on eve of holiday

Posted at 1:37 PM, Jul 03, 2019
and last updated 2019-07-03 13:39:33-04

UNION CITY, N.J. — Twelve people were injured and thousands of commuters were delayed on the eve of July Fourth as a garbage truck flipped over a stone wall outside one of two tunnels connecting New Jersey with New York Wednesday.

An overturned truck is seen on the New Jersey side of the Lincoln Tunnel on July 3, 2019. (Henry Rosoff/ PIX11)

The multi-vehicle crash happened around 1 p.m. and the Lincoln Tunnel reopened to all traffic around 7 p.m.

All bus service from the Port Authority Bus Terminal was suspended for several hours, Port Authority tweeted . The terminal itself was closed around 3 p.m. Officials did not want any overcrowding when nothing was moving in or out.

NJ Transit Rail, PATH and NY Waterways are cross-honoring tickets. Service resumed around 5 p.m. and commuters were allowed back into the terminal, but commuters were advised there would be lengthy delays.

Commuters were incredibly frustrated over the issues. Some with children who planned to go away for the July 4th holiday were left waiting outside in the heat.

NJ-495 was closed at Palisade Avenue because of the crash, according to the official Lincoln Tunnel Twitter account.

Motorists are advised to avoid traveling via the Lincoln Tunnel, and use the Holland Tunnel as an alternate route until further notice, Port Authority tweeted. 

The Union City Department of Public Works truck got out of control near the post office above the highway, witnesses tell PIX11's Henry Rosoff. The path of destruction started there. The garbage truck then hit at least three vehicles along with a traffic light and clock tower. The clock stopped at 12:56, almost exactly when the 911 calls started.

The garbage truck drove off the ramp and landed in traffic on NJ-495, witnesses said.

"It sounded like complete thunder," one witness said. "I'm still trembling. It was like something out of a movie."

Video from AIR11 shows a vehicle with severe damage near the overpass. The truck's tire marks are also seen on the road before it ends where the truck breaks through the overpass gate and overturns onto the NJ-495W.

The crash happened the day before Independence Day, and at the start of what AAA officials said could be a record number of holiday travelers nationwide.