George Washington Bridge climber shuts down traffic during morning rush

FORT LEE, N.J. -- Traffic on the George Washington Bridge has returned to its usual bustle after police removed a shirtless man who had climbed to the top of a tower on the nation’s busiest span.

Steve Coleman, spokesman for the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, says the man had made it to the top of the tower on the New Jersey side in Fort Lee on Friday morning before police were able to grab him.

The 54-year-old man, identified as Alberto Hernandez of East Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania, started climbing the outside of the tower, which stands 600 feet above the Hudson River, around 8:30 a.m., CBS New York station WCBS-TV reports.

Eventually, police said, Detective Raul Gonzalez from the NYPD’s Emergency Service Unit started a dialogue with him before Detective Brandon Watson and Detective Raul Gonzalez were able to grab him and pull him down to the deck’s floor, WCBS-TV reports.

Upper lanes of the two-level bridge, which connects New Jersey and New York, were reopened after traffic had been diverted to the lower lanes.

It’s the second time this week the span was shut down during the morning commute. On Wednesday, 10 protesters chained themselves together and blocked the bridge.