NEWARK, N.J. – The fierce storm that struck the Northeast over the weekend did not wreak havoc on the Monday morning commute, New Jersey transportation agencies said.
State highways were in good shape, thanks to 1,200 workers who responded to the storm that started late Saturday and dropped as much as two feet of snow in some parts of the state, authorities said. Officials had warned that the wet weather and low temperatures overnight could make for icy conditions on the roads.
Joe Orlando, spokesman for the New Jersey Turnpike Authority, said light traffic Monday morning was helping keep major highways free of delays. Many schools closed due to the weather and some offices were closed because of Lincoln's Birthday.
"It's amazing. Twenty-four hours ago we were still facing the brunt of the storm and now most people drove to work completely unimpeded," Orlando said.
New Jersey Transit also reported that its services were largely functioning as normal. Spokesman Dan Stessel said no services had been completely canceled, although the shuttle that runs between Princeton and Princeton Junction was replaced with bus service and there were delays of up to 45 minutes on the Morristown line west of Summit.
"Generally, across the rest of the system everything is running on or close" to schedule, Stessel said.
NJ Transit was honoring tickets across all its services all day so, for example, commuters who normally take buses could opt instead for trains, he said.
Roselle in Union County saw the most snow with 24.6 inches, according to the National Weather Service. In Newark, a little more than 21 inches fell. Hunterdon County's Lambertville saw 19 inches while 21 inches of snowfall blanketed East Brunswick in Middlesex County.
The storm caused problems at area airports, including Newark Liberty International, where more than 200 flights were canceled. The airport was closed for part of Sunday but reopened later in the day.
Only a few people dared to venture outside in the harsh conditions, but in Newark, Dave Kish, 27, grabbed a snow shovel early Sunday and asked the few shop owners who were around if they wanted their storefronts cleared of snow.
"I'm going to hit up as many places as I can today," said a sniffling Kish. "It hasn't snowed a lot this year so you have to get it while you can."
Strong winds that accompanied the storm — some ranging from 25 to 35 mph, with gusts of up to 50 mph — caused blizzard-like conditions in many areas and hampered the efforts of crews trying to clear roadways across the state.
Gov. Jon S. Corzine, speaking on WCAU-TV in Philadelphia on Sunday, said 3,000 workers were involved in the storm clean-up.
"They're doing a heck of a job," Corzine said.
Around 16,000 thousand homes throughout New Jersey went without power at different times Sunday because the snow had knocked down and snapped power lines, while others were damaged by falling trees.
By midnight, service had been restored to most areas of the state, with less than 200 Jersey Central Power & Light customers still without power.