Roads onto Atlantic County’s barrier islands experienced traffic backups early Friday as people were anxious to return home or check out their property.
But the roads cleared throughout the day and became open for traffic by the afternoon.
Motorists along Tilton Road in Northfield were backed up toward Route 9 Friday morning as they waited to take the Margate Causeway into Margate and Longport. The backup was not only due to the high volume of cars, but police requiring residents to show proof of residency or ownership of a home in the shore to enter. A Northfield police car driving up and down Tilton Road reminded the motorists with his radio of the requirement.
Bob James, police chief for Northfield and Linwood, said they needed motorists to be patient to make sure everyone stayed safe.
James said he understood the frustrations from the residents as some tempers flared as cars were stuck in traffic.
“If I was in their position, I would want to get there and see what condition my house was in,” he said. “I fully appreciate what they are going through.”
Access was finally allowed in Atlantic City by 10 a.m. Friday and in Ventnor at 3:30 p.m. All of the roadways were opened except for Longport Boulevard, which was closed as crews worked to clear debris and fallen telephone poles, James said.
That left the Margate Causeway, which leads into the Margate Bridge, as the quickest way into Longport and Margate, and it was full of people hoping to get back in.
James Penhuise was anxious to get back to his home in Longport.
“I’m very concerned about damage,” he said. “I want to see it as soon as possible.”
Havertown, Pa., resident Mary Ann Davidson traveled to the shore Friday and said traffic was not an issue until she hit Tilton Road past Route 9. She was not bothered by the traffic but is anxious to see how her home in Longport fared during the storm.
“You could say I’m optimistically cautious,” she said.
Egg Harbor Township residents Rose and Al Staples tried unsuccessfully Friday morning to get to Sea Village Marina, which is on the mainland off the Margate Causeway. They had been denied three straight days because they don’t have proof of residency. They are trying to check in on their son’s boat.
“We keep trying but they won’t let us in,” Rose Staples said.
Absecon Emergency Management Director Jim Eberwine said there was a high traffic backup Thursday night on Route 30 after people were allowed back into Brigantine but it had tapered off on Friday.
Eberwine said he is concerned about the weekend when people try to come in to see all the damage.
“Anytime you have a something like this, people are curious to see what the hurricane did,” he said.
Eberwine said people should be very careful driving through the island towns because of all the damage.
“There could still be a lot of nails on the roadways that could cause flat tires,” he said. “People need to be careful.”
Atlantic City police are warning residents to be cautious when driving in the resort.
Police said in a release many traffic signals are not functional due to electrical outages throughout the city. Drivers and pedestrians must exercise caution.
A curfew from 6 p.m. to 6 a.m. was dropped in all towns except for Ventnor on Friday afternoon.
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