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Traffic backed up for hours yesterday across the greater Tel Aviv area, after a truck with a improperly raised crane crashed into the La Guardia bridge signs over the northbound Ayalon highway. Police and highway engineers were forced to divert vehicles entering the major traffic artery from the south. The Ayalon Highway Corporation estimates that 800,000 cars and trucks travel the highway every day. In a short time, all the roads feeding into the freeway were backed up and an estimated 200,000 drivers found themselves stuck in kilometers-long traffic jams.

Ayalon corp engineers called in a crane and dismantled the bridge signs, out of concern that the bridge would collapse onto the highway.

However, the drama was not over: at 11 AM, while the signs were still being dismantled, the police received a report of a truck with an oversized load stuck in the southbound lane under the Mozes bridge, near the Ayalon's Shalom interchange. As a result of the collision, the rear end of the truck had fallen off and the large metal cargo had fallen on the road. Traffic police hurried to the site and halted southbound traffic on the highway. Southbound traffic was reopened about an hour later. The La Guardia bridge work was completed at about 2 PM. Traffic continued to be backed up for about another hour.

"The two drivers who cause the hazards will be summoned for hearings next week and their licenses will be revoked," Tel Aviv traffic chief Shahar Paz said. "They will be charged with negligent driving, and the crane operator will face more serious charges."