NEW YORK CITY — A tractor trailer fire that sent a massive column of smoke up from the Queensboro Bridge Friday morning damaged part of the lower span and snarled traffic all day, FDNY officials said.
Officials closed the bridge around 11:15 a.m. to allow firefighters extinguished the blaze by 12:30 p.m., according to the FDNY.
Repairs to a floor beam damaged by the flames are expected to be completed by Sunday morning, according to Department of Transportation spokesman Scott Gastel.
Traffic will remain open in both directions using the bridge's westbound roadways. Manhattan-bound traffic will move across the upper level and Queens-bound will use the lower.
Once the beam is repaired all roadways except for one Queens-bound lane will reopen. The east-bound bottom lane will reopen once all the repair work is done.
No one was injured in the fire and officials could not immediately determine its cause, the FDNY said.
The NYPD reopened a single Manhattan-bound lane on the bridge around noon, though they warned drivers coming into the borough to expect significant delays.
''This is too frustrating, man. The fire was on the lower level, not the upper. I don't understand what they're doing," said Jahangir Momin, 53, a food cart vendor who was returning home to Astoria.
''They told me, 'Hang out in the city.' What am I supposed to circle around like a tourist and have fun? I've lived here 20 years.''
The thick black cloud from the initial blaze could be seen as far away as the East Village, witnesses said.
Alwis DeMoya, 51, who works as a chauffeur on the Manhattan side of the bridge, said he saw a pillar of smoke billowing up from the bridge.
"It was a huge cloud, it was just soaring over the sky," he said. "Then you just heard fire trucks coming from everywhere — a lot of drivers were getting frustrated and honking."