At 5:23 p.m. Wednesday, in the middle of the commute to the Southtowns, the Thruway Authority described the situation on the westbound I-90 in a tweet: "Delays exist."
For drivers stuck in the bottleneck, that was an understatement.
Emergency road repairs on the Thruway triggered a 6-mile traffic backup during the evening commute.
The Thruway Authority said no more work was expected to be performed on Thursday.
The Thruway Authority explained Thursday that "emergency pavement repairs" were required in five sections of the road surface between the Lackawanna toll barriers and Exit 56 (Blasdell/Route 179/Milestrip Road), where traffic was reduced from two lanes to one, because of an unexpected problem encountered by a contractor making full-depth repairs to prepare for an upcoming repaving project.
"While we try and schedule roadwork and lane closures during off-peak travel times, on rare occasions immediate emergency repairs are necessary for the safety of motorists,” a Thruway Authority spokesman said in an email.
The same tweet about the existence of delays at 5:23 p.m. Wednesday also reported the right lane where the road work was happening had reopened. Crews even started removing some orange traffic cones, according to WGRZ's Traffic Tracker Twitter account.
But the cones were apparently put back. Road work continued – and the traffic lane remained closed – for about another 12 hours.
UPDATE EMERGENCY ROAD MAINTENANCE OPERATIONS: WB ON I-90 BETWEEN LACKAWANNA TOLL BARRIER AND EXIT 56 BLASDELL Right Lane OPEN, delays exist
— NYSThruwayTRANSalert (@ThruwayTraffic) May 24, 2017
The State Police issued a warning to the public about possible delays shortly after 11 a.m. Wednesday and urged drivers to find another route. Authorities warned commuters about "severe delays" between noon and 6 p.m., with peak delays between 2 and 6 p.m.