STATEN ISLAND — The first day of a potential fix for the "summer of hell" helped cause a commute from hell for morning drivers Thursday on the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced Wednesday night that the new carpool lane for the Brooklyn-bound side of the bridge would open Thursday morning for drivers earlier than planned to help ease commutes during maintenance work on Amtrak lines in Penn Station.
However, construction on the project ran behind by 15 minutes which, paired with an unrelated accident on the Staten Island Expressway, lead to heavy traffic heading toward the bridge, a spokesman for the MTA said.
Borough President James Oddo took to Twitter to complain about the delays and wrote he would bring up the HOV lanes when he meets with the MTA next week.
This morning's VZ Bridge HOV saga is like snatching disaster from the jaws of agita. This commute just keeps getting worse.— Jimmy Oddo (@HeyNowJO) June 22, 2017
The opening of the new HOV/bus lane for the bridge — the seventh lane on the bridge — was touted by Cuomo as part of a push to accelerate bridge fixes during Amtrak's repair work.
"The Verrazano-Narrows Bridge is a vital route for New York City, and by opening the new HOV/bus lane ahead of the busy summer season, we will help alleviate congestion and streamline travel for commuters," Cuomo said in a statement.
Aside from the new HOV/bus lane, the bridge will also switch to cashless tolling as of July 8 in a bid to reduce congestion, Cuomo said.