The Atlantic City Expressway and other Shore routes are experiencing long traffic backups as thousands of people attempt to check properties for damage from Hurricane Sandy.
Travel bans were lifted yesterday on the expressway, precipitating a rush onto local roadways.
Other roads feeding the Shore are also jammed or closed. Police were reporting incidents of looting in Atlantic City and Ventnor.
Gov. Chris Christie ordered the opening of Atlantic City's casinos at about 10 a.m. today. Ventnor commissioners were also meeting today on whether to open their community.
The rush to the Shore began last night and continued in the dark this morning. The expressway is the major artery onto Absecon Island where the resort towns of Atlantic City, Margate, Ventnor and Longport are situated. It's also used by those heading north to Brigantine and south to Ocean City, via the Garden State Parkway or Route 9.
All those areas saw storm damage, some more than others.
Kevin Rehmann, a spokesman for the South Jersey Transportation Authority, said the expressway was backed up two miles, from exit 5 at the Garden State Parkway to exit 7 at Pleasantville where state troopers have set up a checkpoint.
With Atlantic City and Ventor still closed, only residents of Brigantine were getting through. Everyone else was being diverted onto Route 9.
Though other barrier islands are now open following the massive storm, local police were setting up checkpoints to asking for proof of residency, said Trooper Scott Farkas of the Atlantic City Expressway station.
"If you don't have proper ID showing you live there, then they're turning you away," he said. "They only want people that need to be down there."
"We're hoping that people listen to the news. The major volume coming through are not essential personnel. We're doing the best we can but people are obviously not listening," he said.
Rehmann said electronic signs along the Expressway warn motorists that the road closes at exit 5, the only way into Brigantine. Normally, property owners on Margate and Longport would remain on the expressway and cross directly onto Absecon Island.
The Garden State Parkway remains open.