NYC Bridge Closed; Crazy Video Showed Why It Was the Right Decision


Nature’s fury shifted into high gear recently on New York’s Verrazzano-Narrows Bridge — the city’s longest bridge — when it swayed under pressure from hefty winds.

Mid-morning on Nov. 30, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority announced on Twitter that it had diverted both sides of upper-level bridge traffic to the span’s lower levels because of severe gales during that day’s blustery rainstorms.

The New York Post reported in the afternoon that the 13,700-foot-long suspension bridge was being shut down entirely, with MTA officials telling the Post in a follow-up story that gusts had reached 60 mph.

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A Metropolitan Transportation Authority spokesperson told the Staten Island Advance after the bridge had closed completely that the lower level was open again about a half-hour later and regular traffic patterns had resumed within two hours.

The Verrazzano-Narrows Bridge groaned on a New York City Fire Department video.

Tiffany Buccheri also posted a clip to TikTok from her father, an electrician, who stood on the shuttered bridge as it swayed.

“If you didn’t have a fear of bridges already… well… you do now,” Buccheri wrote.

@tiffanybuccheriMy dad is an electrician and this is the video he sends me from the Verrazano Bridge yesterday during the storm. #fyp #foryoupage #nature #storm #wtf♬ original sound – Tiffany Buccheri

After New York City Emergency Management posted to Twitter about the closure and flying debris on the bridge, one user responded with a video account of her ride.

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NYC Scanner also posted another perspective.

According to the Advance, traffic bottlenecked on the Staten Island and Gowanus expressways, with traffic reporter Greg Rice on radio station WINS tweeting video and images showing stopped motorists walking around.

Gothamist journalist Ben Yakas compared the bridge phenomenon to “a Hans Zimmer musical cue from Inception” and “scenes from a Christopher Nolan movie.”

“The way the bridge is ‘breathing’ reminds me of something from David Cronenberg’s Videodrome or the second Ghostbusters movie,” Yakas wrote. “In other words, it is everything that we could have hoped from practical FX from the ’80s.”

Aaron Donovan, a Metropolitan Transportation Authority spokesman, said the bridge was behaving as designed.

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“Suspension bridges – particularly the longest span in North America – are engineered to be flexible and any movements on the bridge were within its safety standards,” Donovan said in a statement, according to the Post.

“The MTA’s weather event safety protocols were activated early and worked as designed with no structural damage, no major vehicular accidents and no injuries resulting from Monday’s high winds,”  Donovan added.

In May, similar gusts rocked a suspension bridge in China, though heavy traffic proceeded while it rippled.

The South China Morning Post reported that “level 6 to 7 winds” triggered waves on the Guangdong province bridge.

The outlet later wrote, “The structure of the bridge is safe and it remains closed for inspection.”

Washington state’s Tacoma Narrows Bridge, coined “Galloping Gertie” and featured in a Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum segment, was one bridge that didn’t survive windy conditions.

The segment’s hosts explained that, after the bridge opened in 1940, bridge workers had nicknamed it for its movements, modifying the bridge in attempts to restrain it.

Unfortunately, four months after its ribbon was cut, Gertie collapsed on film, thankfully without injuries.

Two bridges replaced the Tacoma Narrows, and as the segment hosts explained, its collapse “spurred research into bridge design that is still influencing how bridges are built today.”

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Jennifer Jean Miller is an award-winning news reporter, known for her coverage of New Jersey’s nursing home deaths during the coronavirus pandemic. She holds college degrees in Education and Paralegal Studies.
Jennifer Jean Miller is an award-winning news reporter, known for her coverage of New Jersey’s nursing home deaths during the coronavirus pandemic. She holds college degrees in Education and Paralegal Studies.
College degrees in Education, Paralegal Studies