What to Know
- Multi-vehicle crash resulted in an overturned public works truck in Union City near the Lincoln Tunnel helix is snarling traffic in NY, NJ
- Officials on scene tell News 4 a city truck lost control rammed into several cars. The truck then went over the Route 495 overpass westbound
- A Hudson County Prosecutor's Office spokesperson tells NBC 4 New York there were multiple injuries
A public works truck lost control in Union City and overturned onto the highway near the Lincoln Tunnel helix Wendnesday afternoon, triggering a traffic nightmare in New York and New Jersey at the height of one of the year's busiest travel days.
Officials told News 4 a Department of Public Works truck lost control and rammed into several cars on 30th Street around 1 p.m., leaving a path of mangled cars and a downed clock tower in its wake. The truck then crashed through a fence and went over the Route 495 overpass going westbound.
Twelve people were hurt in the crash, but thankfully no critical injuries were reported, according to a Hudson County Prosecutor's Office spokesperson. There were two people inside the truck including the driver, and both are expected to survive after being taken to Jersey City Medical Center.
Among those injured was a 15-year-old girl, according to a different spokesperson. A total of six cars, a bus and the truck were involved in the incident, including four cars on 30th Street and two on 495. The 15-year-old was in the back of one of the cars on 30th Street, and suffered facial wounds.
The westbound side of the highway was shut down at Hudson Avenue after the accident, and a miles-long line of buses coming from Port Authority was seen crawling by hours after, as the highway was closed to all other vehicles for hours. The eastbound lanes remained open with minor delays.
Images from the scene at JFK Boulevard and Route 495 showed law enforcement officials at the scene as debris was littered on the street from the various vehicles involved in the incident. The cars struck appeared to be heavily damaged by the runaway truck.
As a result of the crash, all bus service from the Port Authority bus terminal was suspended for about an hour heading into the evening rush hour. Police were stopping people arriving at the transit hub at the door until it re-opened at 4:30 p.m., with bus service that was initially limited and later became fully restored.
A massive crowd gathered outside Port Authority as it was shut down, with many people wondering how they were going to get home to start their holiday weekend. The crowds dissapated after the terminal was back up and running. Officials there had been telling people trying to get to New Jersey to use Penn Station, PATH Trains and NY Waterways.
NJ Transit says it is cross-honoring bus passes at rail stations for the time being. However, in addition to the traffic backlog on the roads out of NYC, multiple rush-hour NJ Transit trains were canceled, and crowds of commuters were seen waiting en masse in the lobby, watching the departure monitors hoping their trains would be running on time.
The trains that left Penn Station to New Jersey after the crash were said to be very crowded, as expected with the other commuting headaches going on.
Port Authority was diverting all Lincoln Tunnel-bound traffic to the Holland Tunnel, as the Lincoln Tunnel was essentially closed down until around 7 p.m.
The cause of the crash has not yet been determined.