Crash Snarled Lincoln Tunnel Traffic for Hours

Drivers faced hours-long delays at height of morning rush

Thousands of commuters were delayed for hours during the height of the morning rush on Thursday after a motorcycle and three buses crashed in the center tube of the Lincoln Tunnel.

The Port Authority and FDNY said 58 people on the buses suffered injuries that were not life-threatening. About half of them went to local hospitals after treatment at the scene.

Port Authority spokeswoman Jennifer Friedberg says the motorcyclist was taken to a New York City hospital with serious injuries. She said he's in critical condition.

Friedberg says the crash occurred around 7:25 a.m. The accident remains under investigation and the center tube of the tunnel reopened at 1:30 p.m.

Drivers and bus commuters faced hours-long delays at the height of the morning rush.

"I was aiming to be in early today -- that didn't quite pan out," said commuter Kate Bird, of Hoboken.

Her 7:15 a.m. bus to New York's Penn Station was already inside the tunnel when it slowed to a stop because of the crash.

"We were a third, if not halfway through, the center tunnel when we came to a complete standstill," she told NBC New York.

The bus sat idle for hours before it was able to back up and get out of the jam.

Drivers were told to take the Holland Tunnel, which experienced residual delays, or the George Washington Bridge as an alternative.

Meanwhile,  thousands of commuters streamed into New Jersey train stations this morning, seeking other ways into the city.

To alleviate the traffic near the tunnel, NJ Transit ran a shuttle train back and forth between Secaucus Junction and New York Penn Station, making roughly three routes per hour as buses unload outside, says spokesman Dan Stessel.

Stessel says NJ Transit continued running the shuttle trains until the Lincoln Tunnel's center tube reopened.

Michael Horowicz, managing editor of NBC New York, was stuck in Secaucus earlier and reported that the train station there was packed at the time.

"I'm amazed at how calm everybody is here," Horowicz said by phone. "They are staying here, they're waiting on line for trains that are packed like sardines. I don't think I've ever seen anything like this before."

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Copyright AP - Associated Press
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