When I saw the traffic in Southampton yesterday after the car accident on County Road 39, I had absolutely no idea what had happened. Traffic was at a complete stand still on nearly ever road in the Hamptons. I’ve never seen anything like it since 9/11 and the first thing I thought when I saw the jam was that something really, really, really bad was going down.
I heard a story about a family who waited for five hours in traffic and then decided to turn back around and sleep in East Hampton. People sat in their cars, looking around, wondering what was going on, until finally it became clear to most that an accident took place on County Road 39 that included two cars that crashed by the Lobster Grille and that one man had to be air lifted to Stony Brook.
The traffic that was caused really was unbelievable. I was able to take a few back routes to get to my condo, and then got out and walked into the street to talk to people if they knew what was going on. One guy in his car with two kids in the back seat said, “I haven’t seen a single cop anywhere or anything, nobody knows what’s happening, I hope everything is okay.”
I got thinking about this traffic and realized that if you don’t have a boat, you are trapped on Long Island if a highway gets shut down. If something happens and you need to get off the island for whatever reason by car and just a few key roads are closed, it stops EVERYTHING. Have we thought about this? Is there a plan? Maybe there should be. But other than having several giant emergency car ferries at the ready, I really can’t think of anything that can be done other than, well, just wait.
I don’t think a single person was happy with the way yesterday’s accident was handled in regards to getting the roads open again, I literally saw people in their cars losing their minds. There were people yelling at each other, people were getting out of their cars, there was little information being released about what was going on.
I was getting calls until 10 p.m. at night that traffic was still backed up and traffic was at a stand still at 5 p.m. when I left my office in Southampton.
There has just been way too much horrific accidents this summer. It’s abnormal, maybe the police and emergency crews are over stretched with how bad it has been lately. I don’t know what needs to be done.