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49° Good Afternoon

Aftermath of bridge fire expected to snarl commuters

Often the second choice of drivers taking the Throgs Neck Bridge to the Bronx, the Clearview Expressway is the only option Monday for thousands of commuters since a fire caused massive traffic disruptions.

The ramp off the Cross Island Parkway will remain closed indefinitely as investigators search for the cause of the Friday morning fire, which prompted a temporary shutdown of the bridge that led to long delays and hours of confusion.

Most trucks will be diverted to the Robert F. Kennedy Bridge, formerly known as the Triborough Bridge, MTA Bridges and Tunnels spokeswoman Joyce Mulvaney said Sunday. Trucks on the Clearview have been diverted to the Bronx- Whitestone Bridge via a circuitous path along several Queens streets.

Mulvaney said it is "still too soon to say" how long restrictions at the Throgs Neck will remain in place.

"Everything now is being reassessed as the engineers are on the scene," she said. "Nothing is really decided right now."

The fire started among construction materials beneath the bridge deck Friday and forced closure of the bridge for several hours. It was mostly reopened by Friday evening, but trucks of 7,000 pounds or more with commercial license plates were banned through the weekend.

The cause of the fire remains under investigation, a fire department spokesman said Sunday.

The fire occurred at the south end of the bridge, near where the Cross Island Parkway entrance merges with the Clearview Expressway, Mulvaney said. The Metropolitan Transportation Authority had planned weeks ago to close the Cross Island Parkway ramp for construction, Mulvaney said.

All Queens-bound lanes of the bridge remain open.

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