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'Carmageddon avoided? Heavy traffic in Connecticut, but no 'parking lot'

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Heavy traffic was reported in southwestern Connecticut on Monday morning after thousands of New York City-bound workers from the suburbs took to the roads because a train crash last week wrecked a section of commuter-rail track.

But fears that roads in the area could turn into one giant “parking lot” -- with the addition of some 30,000 commuters who normally take the Metro-North commuter rail line -- did not appear to have been realized.

The train crash -- just outside Bridgeport on Friday -- injured 72 people. Nine people remained hospitalized on Sunday, with one critical, according to the AP. A 2,000-foot stretch of track was damaged and repair crews are expected to have to work around-the-clock for several days.

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Officials toured the scene of a two-train collision in Connecticut that injured dozens of people and halted rail traffic from New York to Boston on Friday. NBC's Michelle Franzen reports.

Connecticut Metro- North Rail Commuter Council, which was set up by the Connecticut state legislature, said in a message on Twitter that traffic was “not bad.” “Buses from stations shuttling half full but slow. Carmagedon avoided?” it tweeted.

And Norwalk Mayor Richard Moccia told the Connecticut Post that traffic was calm around the city Monday morning. On Sunday night, a reverse 911 call was made to city residents asking for them to carpool.

"It is better than I thought it would be. People are heeding my advice and the governor's message to either work from home or carpool to work,” Moccia said.

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Sandra Dria, of Waterbury, told the paper that her journey down Route 8 was just like "a normal day.”

However heavy congestion was reported along Interstate 95 and the Merritt Parkway, NBCConnecticut.com said Monday morning.

Jennifer Pascucci and Lisa Zarny, of Orange, who work in food service at Stamford Hospital, told the Post they tried to drive to work, but found the Merritt Parkway was choked at Exit 49, so they parked the car and planned to catch a bus-train. "We can't exactly work at home,'' Zarny said.

Gary Maddin, of Milford, Conn., told The Associated Press that it took him an hour to make what is normally a 20-minute drive from his home to the Bridgeport train station. From there, he planned to board a shuttle bus to Stamford where he could catch a train to Grand Central Station in New York.

"It's a lot," he said. "It's a nightmare just to get into the city today."

A spokeswoman for Connecticut State Police, citing Lt. J. Paul Vance, said just after 9 a.m. Monday that traffic on the relevant stretch of I-95 was “light,” as people appeared to have made other arrangements or avoided the area.

On Sunday, Connecticut Gov. Dannel P. Malloy warned that he expected the commute to be "extremely challenging."

At a news conference in Hartford Sunday, Malloy said that "residents should plan for a week's worth of disruptions."

Connecticut Governor Malloy holds a press conference after two Metro North trains collided injuring 60, 5 critically.

He said that if all 30,000 affected commuters took to the highways to get to work, "we would literally have a parking lot," according to the Associated Press. And if a substantial number of affected consumers hit the roads, traffic would be "greatly slowed."

"If you are going to New York and you get to New York or you're transporting yourself to New York you may decide that perhaps you should stay there for the duration of this disturbance," Malloy added.

About 700 people were on board the trains Friday evening when one heading east from New York City's Grand Central Terminal to New Haven derailed just outside Bridgeport. It was hit by a train heading west from New Haven. Both trains were traveling at about 70 mph.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.


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