Nightly News   |  January 09, 2014

Traffic mayhem takes toll on N.J. town

Fort Lee, N.J.  was impacted the most by the multi-day traffic mayhem in September.  Hear what residents have to say about the controversy. NBC News’ Stephanie Gosk reports.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>> iing, gw bridge is the busiest in the world, think about the impact this had on all the lives, the vehicles, the doctor's appointments, people late for work, anybody with an emergency, and don't forget, it was the first day of school. nbc's stephanie gosk is live in ft. lee.

>> reporter: the people of ft. lee are no strangers to traffic. the backup on the bridge happens every day, but not like that week. how bad was it?

>> it was very bad, worse than ever.

>> reporter: this is just regular traffic, an average day for ft. lee, you can already see how difficult it is for emergency responders to get where they need to go. the real traffic situation started on september 9th . the next day, ft. lee's coordinator wrote a letter to the mayor, over the past two days we have had delayed response times due to the traffic. he describes several cases including a car accident with multiple injuries. he says he was forced to jump the curb in order to avoid the stand still traffic. school children got caught up in the mess, too, the first day back from vacation.

>> out of the blue, everybody was back, it took me two hours to get into work. other staff members, it took them a long time. students were impacted because they were late going to class on the first day.

>> reporter: today, the u.s. attorney in new jersey announced an inquiry into whether or not federal law was broken, while at the diner at the foot of the bridge, some of the people watched their governor explain and apologize for nearly two hours.

>> he tells it like it is.

>> reporter: did you find him believable?

>> no.

>> reporter: can you tell me why?

>> almost trying too hard.

>> reporter: he thinks governor christie lied today.

>> i don't think he had any trouble doing it either, his whole political career is on the line.

>> reporter: governor christie's political future depends on who believes him, convincing the people of ft. lee who sat here in bumper to bumper traffic for hours is one of the governor's biggest challenges.

>> stephanie gosk at the gw