The George Washington Bridge had lane closures in September 2013 that caused major traffic problems. The lanes weren’t closed because of a traffic accident or because of construction; it was initially explained that the lanes were closed for a traffic study. Investigations showed that aides to New Jersey Governor Chris Christie had ordered the lanes to be closed, possibly as retribution to a Fort Lee politician who didn’t support Christie.
The George Washington Bridge lane closure incident in Fort Lee was dubbed “Bridgegate” (“-gate” is from the Watergate scandal in 1970s Washington, DC) by at least December 5, 2013.
Wikipedia: Fort Lee lane closure scandal
The Fort Lee lane closure scandal, also known as Bridgegate, is a U.S. political scandal in which staff members and political appointees of New Jersey Governor Chris Christie conspired to create traffic jams in Fort Lee, New Jersey, starting at an entrance to the George Washington Bridge. The problems began on September 9, 2013, after two toll lanes (at one of the toll plaza entryways) were closed to local traffic from Fort Lee and surrounding communities and used for traffic from state and interstate expressways instead, resulting in massive back-ups in Fort Lee.
Christie’s advisers and staff, including the governor’s deputy chief of staff, press secretary, and campaign manager, as well as three of his senior appointees to the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey (which manages the bridge traffic), attempted to cover up these actions and suppress disclosures. Local area officials and emergency services officers, as well as the general public, were not notified of the lane closures. Fort Lee officials declared the unannounced closures a threat to public safety, noting multiple cases in which emergency services responses had been delayed, and said that schools had been disrupted by the delayed arrivals of students and teachers who had been caught in the traffic jams.
NJ.com (Newark Star-Ledger)
Christie’s officials are hiding something in Bridge-gate: Editorial
By Star-Ledger Editorial Board
on December 05, 2013 at 6:30 AM, updated December 05, 2013 at 6:31 AM
At first, it seemed crazy to believe that Gov. Chris Christie’s allies at the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey would be stupid enough to mess with the traffic flow at the George Washington Bridge as an act of revenge against a mayor who refused to endorse the governor’s re-election.
But the administration, including the governor, has been so evasive and secretive that it’s obvious they have something to hide.
THU DEC 12, 2013 AT 11:07 AM PST
“Bridgegate" Gets Messy; Christie directly told Cuomo to cut it out with investigating the matter
In a dramatic update of the ongoing GW Bridge lane closure scandal, NJ Gov. Chris Christie apparently had direct contact with NY Gov. Andrew Cuomo regarding the closure of two lanes, a move that caused major traffic jams throughout the town of Fort Lee, NJ and on the bridge itself.
If you like your Presidents petty, vindictive, mean and dishonest, Chris Christie is your man #Bridgegate http://bit.ly/1foF78K
8:16 PM - 12 Dec 2013
13 December 2013, The Wall Street Journal (New York, NY), “Christie Aide Quits Over Traffic-Jam Controversy; Lane Closure Has Turned Into a Headache for Potential 2016 GOP Contender” by Ted Mann:
New Jersey Democrats have started referring to the flap as “Bridgegate.” State Assemblyman John Wisniewski, the Democrat who has compelled people to testify under oath on the incident, said: “Our investigation into what happened with these lane closings will continue.”
NJ.com (Newark Star-Ledger)
Bridgegate? Chris Christie’s national ambitions could be hurt by GWB controversy
By Jenna Portnoy and Brent Johnson/The Star-Ledger
on December 15, 2013 at 12:01 AM, updated December 16, 2013 at 10:57 AM
TRENTON — Not too long ago, Chris Christie was joking about it.
But as the controversy over lane closures at the George Washington Bridge continues to swirl, Democrats in Washington are pouncing on the Republican governor in the hope that they can stop his potential quest for the White House before it begins.
17 December 2013, Journal & Courier, “Chris Christie’s nightmare traffic jam” by Richard Cohen:
But New Jersey Democrats, a creative bunch, have come to call the affair “Bridgegate” and, armed with subpoena power in the legislature, are determined—for strictly good government reasons—to get to the bottom of this.
The suffix “-gate” has been much abused since 1972 when, in the dead of night, Republican operatives, in gloved hands, merely sought to find the truth at the Democratic National Committee’s headquarters. For instance, “-gate” was misapplied to the recent IRS scandal, which, a good deal of GOP hyperventilating notwithstanding, has gone nowhere. That’s because “-gate” implies that the scandal will lead to the top, as it eventually did with Richard Nixon. Few outside the House Republican caucus thought that Barack Obama had anything to do with inappropriate IRS investigations. In contrast, no one would put Bridgegate past Christie’s guys.
Media Research Center
Networks Torch Christie for Lane Closures, But Ignored Obama Admin’s Corrupt Shutdown Tactics
Published: 1/9/2014 6:07 PM ET
By Matt Hadro
The same network evening news shows that ignored vindictiveness by the Obama administration during October’s government shutdown were up in arms Wednesday over New Jersey Governor Chris Christie’s “bridgegate” and the possible tarring it could give his image.
The MRC already counted 17 times more network coverage of Christie’s controversy than of Obama’s IRS scandal in the past six months. That same double standard was evident in the treatment given the Christie administration versus the non-coverage of any Obama administration wrongdoing during the shutdown.
CNN’s Jake Tapper: Christie’s ‘Bridgegate’ got more attention than Clinton’s ‘Benghazi’
By DYLAN BYERS | 1/22/14 9:59 PM EST
CNN’s Jake Tapper said Wednesday that Chris Christie’s “Bridgegate” scandal has received more media coverage than Hillary Clinton’s handling of the Benghazi attack, though he said there were “complicated reasons” for that.
“Obviously, Christie is getting a lot more attention when it comes to Bridgegate than Hillary got when it came to Benghazi. I think that there are complicated reasons for it,” Tapper, the host of CNN’s “The Lead,” told radio host Hugh Hewitt.