Bridge Terror Threats & Closures

Title: Brooklyn Bridge Bomb Scare
Date: May 15, 2005

Abstract: Yesterday afternoon, an abandoned U-Haul truck on the Brooklyn Bridge 
caused police to close the bridge. Worried that it might have been terrorist-related, the Brooklyn Bridge was shut down between 3PM and 5PM, until the police decided that the truck was most likely left by someone who got nervous when he/she realized the truck was higher than the bridge's height restriction. AUGH! Gothamist hopes that the NYPD figures out the knucklehead who rented the truck through U-Haul's records, because this was the most Bad Idea Jeans Bad Idea one could have while driving a truck. Abandoning it! Right before the Bridge! Fool! (Gothamist, 2005).

Title: Bay Bridge Closed, Man Behind Bomb Threat In Custody
November 11, 2010
Huffington Post

A police standoff with an armed man who reported having explosives in his vehicle briefly halted traffic on Northern California's busiest bridge during Thursday's morning commute.

Craig Carlos-Valentino, described by authorities as mentally unstable, called 911 around 7 a.m. after pulling over on the upper deck of the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge and threatened to blow it up, California Highway Patrol investigators said.

Authorities halted all westbound traffic on the upper deck as officers negotiated with the man, who could be seen standing outside his SUV talking on a cell phone.

His 16-year-old daughter managed to escape from the vehicle during the hourlong standoff.

Highway Patrol Sgt. Trent Cross said Carlos-Valentino, an emergency medical technician from Antioch, reported being upset over a family issue. He brandished a gun, then threw it over the railing into the water.

After persuading him to surrender, officers passed him a pair of handcuffs and he put them on and turned himself in, Cross said. Authorities found no explosives in the SUV.

A check of his home in Antioch also found no bombs or bomb-making material, CHP Officer Shawn Chase said. His wife was there and was unharmed.

Carlos-Valentino, 51, was booked in San Francisco on suspicion of brandishing a weapon, making criminal threats and child endangerment, among other charges, Chase said.

The man's sister, Viviana Carlos of Sacramento, told the Contra Costa Times that her brother sent a text message minutes before the standoff saying he had killed himself because he believed his wife had an affair.

The CHP reopened some westbound lanes shortly after 8 a.m., though traffic remained snarled throughout the morning. Eastbound lanes on the lower desk were kept open during the incident.

An average of 280,000 motorists use the Bay Bridge each day (Huffington Post, 2010).

Title: Brooklyn Bridge Shut Down After Bomb Scar
Date: December 1, 2010
Yahoo News

Abstract: The Brooklyn Bridge was closed for part of the day on Friday to pedestrians and vehicles after authorities discovered a suspicious package on the bridge's pedestrian walkway. The package contained a flashlight with an attached copper wire.Reports indicate that there may even have been two packages; one on each side of the bridge.Initially suspected to be bombs, the packages were removed and police were able to reopen the bridge
(Yahoo News, 2010).

Title: Bomb Threat Prompts Increased Security
Date: September 9, 2011
Deseret News

Abstract:  Bomb-sniffing dogs were deployed in the Washington subway and the police searched vehicles at New York's Brooklyn Bridge on Friday as counterterrorism officials working with imprecise clues hunted for at least two men reportedly dispatched by al-Qaida to set off a car or truck bomb in New York or Washington.

Two senior U.S. law enforcement officials said the tip came from an informant in the Afghanistan-Pakistan region who passed word of the purported plot, intended to coincide with the 10th anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, to U.S. intelligence officers Wednesday. The informant said two U.S. citizens of Arab ancestry had left Afghanistan, traveled through other countries and reached the United States as recently as last week.

The officials said they had only a vague physical description of the two men — one described as 5 feet tall, the other 5-foot-8 — and a first name for one of them that is common in the Middle East. The tipster also described a third conspirator, but he appeared to have traveled to Europe.

The informant was not specific about targets, but officials stepped up scrutiny of bridges and tunnels, long considered potential targets for vehicle bombs.

In a notebook found in the compound of Osama bin Laden after he was killed in May, bin Laden mused about the possibility of mounting an attack on the Sept. 11 anniversary. Officials briefed on the threat offered varying views of how serious it was: Some said such a specific tip from a trustworthy source came along only every few months; others suggested such tips were not unusual.

The stepped-up security in New York and Washington came as Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and Vice President Joe Biden publicly discussed the threat.

"There are specifics — in that sense it was credible," Biden said on the ABC News program "Good Morning America," "but there's no certitude."

The two senior law enforcement officials, who were not authorized to speak publicly about the investigation, were in the skeptical camp.

"It's 9/11, baby," the official said. "We have to have something to get spun up about."

U.S. intelligence analysts said they were examining the possibility that the suspected plot was ordered by Ayman al-Zawahri, who succeeded bin Laden as al-Qaida's leader, and was accelerated after a U.S. drone strike last month killed Atiyah Abd al-Rahman, a Libyan who in the last year had taken over as al-Qaida's top operational planner.

One federal official said the informant had reported that the two plotters were told that if tight security made a car or truck bomb attack impossible, they should attempt a less-complicated attack to sow panic (Deseret News, 2011).

Title: Brooklyn Bridge Closed After River Crane Slams Into Underside
Date: March 14, 2012
National Post

Abstract: The iconic Brooklyn Bridge in New York was closed for three hours Tuesday night after being struck by a crane attached to a tugboat.

Pictures of the bridge clearly show the underside torn open and pieces of protective sheeting hanging precariously above the East River. A hole of around 6-metres was created after the accident, which occurred around 8p.m. ET.

The bridge was opened around three hours later after Department of Transport investigators declared the landmark safe for traffic.

No injuries were reported and witnesses claimed the crane continued to float down the river without stopping (National Post, 2012).

Title: Car Fire Closes Brooklyn Bridge
Date: May 31, 2012
NBC New York

Abstract: Traffic is backed up on the Brooklyn Bridge as firefighters respond to a vehicle fire there.

The fire has been extinguished, but cleanup of the resulting fuel on the roads is expected to take some time.

Inbound lanes are shut down, while one outbound lane remains open. Manhattan-bound vehicles are being rerouted to the Manhattan Bridge. Williamsburg Bridge also remains a better option for traffic headed toward lower Manhattan.  

The driver was not injured in the fire, officials said (NBC New York, 2012).

Title: Bomb Threat Leads To US-Canada Bridge Closing
Date: July 17, 2012

Abstract: Detroit police say a bomb threat has led authorities to close one of the busiest bridge-crossings between the U.S. and Canada, just four days after a similar threat closed a nearby international commuter tunnel.

Police spokeswoman Sgt. Eren Stephens says a call came in to authorities on the U.S. side of the Ambassador Bridge "pertaining to a bomb on the bridge" around 7:20 p.m. Monday. The bridge connects Detroit to Windsor, Ontario.

Stephens says the call prompted authorities in both cities to halt truck and car traffic across the bridge. So far, authorities haven't reported finding a bomb.

On Thursday, a bomb threat was phoned in to Windsor authorities that lead to a four-hour closing of the Detroit-Windsor Tunnel, the other crossing between the border cities. No bomb was found (PhilStar, 2012).

Title: 2nd Bogus Bomb Threat Closes US-Canada Crossing
Date: July 17, 2012

Abstract:  A bogus bomb threat forced the closure of the Ambassador Bridge for several hours, the second such threat to a major crossing connecting Detroit to Canada in recent days.

Detroit police said a 911 call came in around 7:20 p.m. Monday to authorities on the U.S. side of the Ambassador Bridge that links Detroit with Windsor, Ontario. The caller said a bomb would go off in 10 minutes along the busy freight crossing, police Inspector Don Johnson said during a news conference Monday night.

The call prompted authorities in both cities to halt all truck and car traffic across the bridge, said Detroit police spokeswoman Sgt. Eren Stephens.

The bridge was reopened around 1 a.m. Tuesday after security sweeps failed to turn up any incendiary devices, Stephens said.

Traffic was backed up when the bridge re-opened early Tuesday, but was clear by rush hour, according to the Michigan Department of Transportation.

Just four days earlier, a similar threat was phoned in to Windsor authorities that lead to a four-hour closure of the Detroit Windsor Tunnel, a busy border crossing beneath the Detroit River connecting the two border cities. No explosives were found.

At the time, police said a man had called from a street pay phone and warned of a bomb on the Canadian side of the tunnel. Authorities have since said surveillance video from a coffee shop near the phone booth where the call was made might offer clues about the caller.

Johnson said the call Monday came in from somewhere in Detroit, though other details weren’t immediately released.

Police had set up several roadblocks near the bridge, where canine units were called in to search the bridge. The Coast Guard was patrolling the Detroit River beneath the bridge and blocked river traffic until about 1 a.m. Tuesday as well.

The closing led to major traffic backups on expressways and other major roads leading into downtown Detroit, Stephens said. Car and light truck traffic was being diverted to the Detroit Windsor Tunnel about 2 miles away, though large trucks cannot use the underwater commuter tunnel (KAAL TV News, 2012).

Title: Brooklyn Bridge Reopens To Traffic After Crews Rescue Man
Date: September 24, 2012
DNA Info

Abstract: Emergency crews raced to the Brooklyn Bridge Monday afternoon to try to talk down an emotionally disturbed man threatening to jump from the iconic span, officials said.

Firefighters and the NYPD's Emergency Service Unit arrived at the bridge just after 1:30 p.m. to respond to the man, who was standing on an outer cable, authorities said.

A fire department spokesperson said the man was rescued before he could jump and was sent to Woodhull Hospital for a psychiatric evaluation.

The city's Office of Emergency Management said the bridge reopened to traffic at 2:30 p.m (DNA Info, 2012).

Title: Brooklyn Bridge Lane Closures Expected Over the Weekend
Date: October 5, 2012
DNA Info

Abstract: Brooklynites planning to drive into Manhattan this weekend and next will not be able to use the Brooklyn Bridge, officials said.

The Department of Transportation is closing both Manhattan-bound driving lanes on the bridge in order to update ramps from midnight on Friday to 6 a.m. Monday morning the weekends of Oct. 5-8 and Oct. 12-15.

Drivers can use the Manhattan Bridge, Williamsburg Bridge, and the Brooklyn-Battery Tunnel.

For more information or questions, please contact the Department of Transportation at 311 (DNA Info, 2012).

Title: Brooklyn Bridge Briefly Closed After ’Suspicious Item’ Found
Date: October 15, 2012

Abstract: A suspicious object briefly forced the closure of New York City’s iconic Brooklyn Bridge on early Friday morning, bringing traffic to a halt in the area.

A New York Police Department spokeswoman initially said a suspicious object was found on the sidewalk of the bridge, forcing police to close the bridge to all vehicles and pedestrians. A police spokesman later identified the object as a flashlight and said the bridge had been re-opened.

The Brooklyn Bridge, completed in 1883, connects the New York City boroughs of Manhattan and Brooklyn by spanning the East River. It is one of the city’s most iconic structures (Thaindian, 2012).