New York City-bound commercial vehicle traffic is now banned from the Holland Tunnel and Brooklyn Battery Tunnel as federal law enforcement officials are scrutinizing a possible al-Qaeda plot to use car or truck bombs to attack buildings in the financial service sector in New York City, Northern New Jersey and Washington, DC.

Additionally, various news sources have reported the following new traffic security measures:

New York City

  • Commercial vehicles are allowed only on the New Jersey-bound side of Holland Tunnel and on both sides of the Lincoln Tunnel and George Washington Bridge

  • Trucks are banned from the Williamsburg Bridge

  • Random police searches of cars and trucks in Lower Manhattan, Midtown Manhattan and Queens

New Jersey

  • Prudential Plaza in Newark will be barricaded; all vehicular traffic is banned from surrounding streets

Washington

  • Random police searches of cars and trucks

“As of now, this is what we know: reports indicate that al-Qaeda is targeting several specific public buildings, including the International Monetary Fund and World Bank in the District of Columbia; Prudential Financial in Northern New Jersey; and Citigroup buildings and the New York Stock Exchange in NewYork,” said Secretary of Homeland Security Tom Ridge at a press conference Sunday.

“What’s being suggested in the reporting is car and truck bombs; the physical destruction or attempted physical destruction of these facilities,” Ridge said.

There is no specific time frame for these attacks beyond the period leading up to the national election, Ridge added.

Tom Cocola, spokesperson for the New York City Department of Transportation told Fleet Owner that traffic during Monday morning’s commute was already adversely affected. “Traffic did jam up at various tunnel and bridge points. It’s starting to look like post-9/11 security. You see an increased police presence and some trucks are stopped— not only tractor-trailers but box trucks,” Cocola said.

Seasonally lighter summer traffic volumes have mitigated some of the congestion, Cocola noted. “I would say that in the month of August, traffic volumes are lower anyway— especially at the week of the 29th, since people are on vacation.”

Bill Rice, spokesperson of the District Department of Transportation in Washington, noted that there is an increased police presence around specific buildings, but no checkpoints at this time.