NEW YORK (AP) – Part of a major New York City bridge will be closed at least through Sunday morning after a truck caught fire, sending black smoke billowing over the city and damaging a floor beam, authorities said Friday.
There were no reports of injuries in the fire on the 3,725-foot-long Ed Koch Queensboro Bridge, officials said, but it caused a major traffic mess that spilled into the streets of midtown Manhattan.
The bridge carries more than 180,000 motorists a day and is the largest of the four New York City bridges over the East River.
“It’s the one day we got out of work early, and now we’re paying the price,” said Jane Seelin, an office manager in a Manhattan doctor’s office who was desperately looking for a cab to take her to Queens. “We just want to go home.”
Thick, black smoke billowed from the double-decker span’s lower level, and it took firefighters about two hours to get the fire under control, authorities said.
Department of Transportation spokesman Scott Gastel said traffic in both directions would remain open using the bridge’s westbound lanes as emergency crews repaired the damaged beam.
Upper-level lanes will be Manhattan-bound and lower level lanes will go toward Queens, he said.
In April, the bridge was closed briefly after a truck caught fire and caused an oxygen tank in the back to explode near the Manhattan entrance.
A 2005 fire that started in scaffolding and a canvas tarp during a paint job on the bridge also produced heavy smoke that could be seen for miles.
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