It looks like New Jersey will be the state most significantly impacted as Hurricane Sandy makes landfall later today. And apparently if you haven’t left the Garden State already you’re not going anywhere as Governor Chris Christie has ordered a shutdown of most of the state’s transportation system.
Earlier today the Garden State Parkway was shut down south of Exit 63 in Stafford Township, Ocean County. That was an expansion of a shutdown of a 35 mile segment of the highway closer to the coastline earlier today. At 4 PM Eastern the Garden State Parkway will close to traffic both directions south of Exit 129 in Woodbridge Township. To facilitate a more expedient traffic flow the state has suspended the collection of tolls Northbound on the Garden State Parkway.
The New Jersey Turnpike–the most significant traffic artery in the state–has also been affected with reduced speeds of 45 MPH along significant portions of the motorway. In his latest hurricane briefing at approximately 2 PM Eastern New Jersey Governor Christie said that the transportation situation would continue to deteriorate:
“Motorists should anticipate significant closures on the Turnpike and Parkway as conditions continue to deteriorate throughout the day and into the evening. As I’ve said again, stay off the road. You’re not just putting yourself in danger, but you’re putting others’ lives in danger.”
The hurricane has brought economic activity in the Northeastern Corridor of the United States to a standstill. Virtually every component of the area’s economy has been shut down in anticipation of the storm and it has impacted a wide range of professions from Wall Street stock brokers (the NY Stock Exchange will close on Tuesday) to New York mesothelioma lawyers. Best case scenario, it will likely be mid to late week before things get back to normal and that is assuming no significant damage or widespread power outages.
The Atlantic City casino industry has also been brought to a standstill, with gaming areas and hotels closed. In fact, a travel ban is in place for Atlantic County and that is expected to be extended to the Hoboken area later today. New Jersey (NJ Transit) bus and rail service has also been shut down making evacuation at this late stage of the game virtually impossible.