A Guide to Chris Christie's Fun Traffic Jam Scandal [UPDATED]

Image via Twitter
Christie deputy chief Bridget Kelly celebrates her 40th birthday, as Christie hovers in the background.

Update, 4:35 p.m.: Christie has issued a statement denying all involvement in the controversy, and pledging to hold his staffers responsible. We've reprinted it in full at the end of this post.

Original post:

If you were on Twitter earlier today, you might have noticed every reporter on the planet hyperventilating and repeating a number of words, chief among them "Chris Christie," "emails," and "traffic."

Oh, Jesus. Traffic? This sounds like one of those Important Civic Stories You Should Care About, a sort of eat-your-vegetables infrastructure deal, more soporific than a pound of Ambien and half your freshman reading list. Who gives a damn about this stuff besides transportation nerds and journalists, the two lowest lifeforms?

In fact, though, you're watching a tremendously entertaining little scandal in progress, featuring the governor of New Jersey, some deeply incriminating emails, and an ex-blogger and former small-town mayor who, with Christie's help, turned into one of the most powerful men at the Port Authority, and then used that position to extract mind-bogglingly petty revenge on his political enemies. It also has Chris Christie's top aides laughing at school buses full of stranded children. Let's get caught up, shall we?

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Street Closures and Construction Embargoes for the New York City Marathon

Photo Credit: Martineric via Compfight cc
Runners the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge at the 2005 NYC Marathon.
The annual New York City Marathon is this weekend, which means any construction work occurring along the route has been suspended until after the race. The Department of Transportation will allow emergency work to go forward, but everything else is on hold until 11:59 p.m. on November 3. If you live anywhere there is an embargo, look forward to a weekend free of the racket of jackhammers and clanging metal.

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57th Street Is Closed Because of a Building Crane Malfunction (Same Location as the Famous Hurricane Sandy Crane)

Categories: Traffic

Flickr/Sarah Ackerman
An image of last year's crane collapse on the same building.
Early this morning reports emerged that the block of West 57th Street between Sixth and Seventh avenues was closed due to NYPD activity, and now we know why. A building crane on 157 W. 57th malfunctioned while hoisting a load up the building. Get this: This is the second time a crane has gone haywire on this building. The first was during Hurricane Sandy, when a crane snapped while atop the 90-story building, shutting down the block for six days.

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Traffic on the George Washington Bridge Is About to Become Very, Very Bad

If you're the sort who enjoys sitting in bumper-to-bumper traffic on superstructures spanning deepwater rivers, boy, do we have some good news for you. The Port Authority announced a plan to replace the steel beams that support the George Washington Bridge's upper deck. That means three of the four lanes in one direction on the upper deck will be closed for repairs every night until the end of the year. Being trapped on a bridge for more than an hour: Now that's a high that's hard to come by.

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Megabus Driver Wedges the Bus Under an Overpass

Categories: Traffic

Spatial reasoning seems like a basic requirement for a bus driver, right? Maybe that's asking too much, seeing as how yesterday morning a Megabus driver got on the wrong ramp at the Lincoln Tunnel and wedged a bus full of passengers into an overpass.

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Thanks, Andrew Cuomo, For That Smartphone Traffic App You Can't Use While Driving

Governor Andrew Cuomo is crowing today about the state's new smartphone app that allows users to get real-time traffic and construction updates right on their cell phones.

The idea behind the app -- aside from Cuomo's using it to boast all of his "New York Works" projects under the guise of a helpful way to avoid all the travel delays they'll ultimately cause -- is to give people a heads up before they hit trip-ruining traffic issues.

There is one minor (major) issue with the gov's prized app: you can't use it while you're driving!

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Barack Obama's Coming To New York To Hobnob With Celebs (A.K.A. F**K Up Your Commute)

Expect a scene similar to this when President Obama comes to town this afternoon.

President Barack Obama will be in the Big Apple tonight to attend multiple fundraisers held by high-profile celebs -- and he'll be touching down at John F. Kennedy Airport just in time to fuck up your commute.

As you probably know, whenever the president comes to town the Secret Service blocks traffic along the route he takes to get to his various destinations, which leads to some pretty nasty gridlock. In other words, don't expect to be able to get home from work tonight without getting even more aggravated than usual. 

The president is expected to land at JFK Airport at 4:30 p.m., which means his motorcade will be holding up traffic right as rush hour rolls around.

After delaying the evening commute, the president will head to a private fundraiser on the Upper East Side, where tickets are reportedly $40,000 apiece.

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Questions Surround Fallen Billboard On BQE

Screen shot 2012-01-14 at 2.42.28 PM.png
A tweet from around 2:30 p.m. today.
A day after a billboard came down on the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway in high winds between Meeker and Metropolitan Avenues, there are lingering questions about the structure.

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Wind Blew a Billboard Down on the BQE Today

via Larissa Martell via @dietznutz
It's windy out there, be careful! So windy that on the way into work we almost blew across the street. So windy that a billboard on the BQE between Meeker and Metropolitan plummeted 200 feet to the ground below, blocking traffic and effectively closing the BQE for a period this afternoon.

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Scaffolding Fall Closes 14th Street

Robert Sietsema
From our Robert Sietsema comes this photo of the scaffolding fall at 222 West 14th Street, which occurred at around 7:45 this morning. The FDNY tells us they are still on the scene securing the area, and while they were initially concerned over injuries, there appear to be none -- except to a car that was crushed. Some residents of the building had to evacuate.

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