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America's New War: Huge Delays Getting Into New York

Aired September 26, 2001 - 14:12   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
AARON BROWN, CNN ANCHOR: Getting around the city is not easy these days particularly the lower part of Manhattan. Traffic yesterday was horrible in the city. And it's very difficult now to come into the city too because there are checkpoints set up. CNN's Jason Carroll joins us now. He is on the Queens side of the Queensborough Bridge, for those of you familiar with Manhattan and the outlying burroughs. Taking a look at the process of trying to get in town -- Jason.

JASON CARROLL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Aaron there's no other way to describe it, the traffic situation out here is terrible, but it is necessary. And by that I mean the checkpoints that are out here, that is what is causing many of the delays.

This is a checkpoint as you said, here at the Queensborough bridge. One of the sergeants out here telling us that the officers who are here checking the trucks and vans have been briefed what to look for. New York City stepped up efforts in the wake of a federal investigation into terrorist activities.

A number of people were arrested who had obtained or tried to obtain licenses to transport hazardous materials. New York City, as a result, increased its inspections and that's what has been causing all of these delays. Some drivers telling us the delays have been as much as three hours. The mayor came out and announced a new commuting rule to help alleviate the congestion. If you plan on using any one of the four major bridges on the East Side of Manhattan, you are going to have to carpool if you plan on coming into the city.

That same rule applies to the Lincoln Tunnel. So you have four bridges and the Lincoln Tunnel as well. Earlier today we had an opportunity to speak to some drivers about all the delays and what they've had to deal with.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The city is just taking precautions. Can you blame them? That's just part of living right now.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The whole thing is messed up. Yesterday we waited like two hours in the city, you know.

CARROLL: Today another hour.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No problem with it.

CARROLL: Tell me why.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Because it's for everybody's safety. I mean, I have no problem with it. I will wait five hours as long as everyone is safe.

CARROLL: How long did you have to wait in traffic this morning?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: About two hours, sir.

CARROLL: About two hours? What do you think of the whole process of being stopped and searched?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's all right. It's good.

CARROLL: All right with you?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes. It's all right.

CARROLL: That new commuting rule goes into effect tomorrow at 6:00 a.m. and will stay in effect from 6:00 a.m. until midnight until further notice. The mayor today at his regular briefing said that he is just going to see how it goes. In terms of what he is recommending at this point, Aaron, he's recommending that New Yorkers use mass transit, use the buses, use the subways, use the ferries if you can. That is one sure way to alleviate all of the traffic congestion.

BROWN: Jason, I want you to back to the carpool thing. That's a little bit different. What you described I think is a different from what the mayor might have been talking about yesterday. He's not talking about the entire city or even Midtown South. He is just talking about taking the bridges and tunnels from the East Side?

CARROLL: That's exactly right. If that -- if you plan on coming -- let's just say from Queens, trying to use one of the East Side bridges like the Queensborough Bridge, he is saying that if you are coming alone, they might turn you around or issue you a ticket. The could give you a warning.

That is still unclear in terms of how they are going to enforce this. But the point is, you have to have someone else there with you. You have got to be a part of a car pooling group, if you will, if you plan on trying to come into the city.

BROWN: So New Yorkers be warned. It's one more inconvenience to deal with in this time but the traffic really in Manhattan, Lower Manhattan was awful yesterday. It was pretty clear they had to do something. Jason, thanks for joining us.

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