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Leonia Takes Aim At Out-Of-Town Drivers Trying To Avoid GWB Traffic

LEONIA, N.J. (CBSNewYork) -- Emergency construction lead to a 90-minute backup on the George Washington Bridge during Wednesday's morning rush hour. The delays sent cars, buses, even trucks ducking out of horrific traffic on I-95 and swerving into towns like Leonia, which is now taking drastic action to combat traffic congestion.

Police Chief Thomas Rowe said for the last 10 years apps like Google Maps and Waze have been directing bridge traffic crowding onto Leonia side streets.

"Everything else is backed up because of the bridge, I'll even wait to take my kids to day care," said Leonia resident Sarah Pennington.

The crowding causes issues for emergency services and disrupts public safety. The borough plans to shut down 60 residential streets during morning and evening rush hour every day, alert apps that the streets are unavailable, and then start ticketing out-of-town drivers.

"That's a little drastic I would say because people want to get their chance to move," said Giovanni Cifelli of Union, New Jersey. 

Leonia residents will still have full access to the town by displaying bright colored hang tags to avoid a traffic stop.

"If they're going to give us badges I don't think it makes sense for people to be filling up the side streets trying to get three cars ahead on Fort Lee Road," said Leonia resident Andrew Spinelli.

Drivers without issued hang tags could face a $200 fine if caught.

The ordinance goes into effect Jan. 15. Waze is working with Leonia police to avoid sending users onto streets blocked off to non-residents.

Meanwhile, Wednesday's emergency construction at the inbound upper level was for finger joint repairs. At one point, delays were over two hours with traffic stretching back on the turnpike to Ridgefield, New Jersey.

The construction has since wrapped up.

To check current traffic conditions, click here.

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