I am putting forward a quick diary to speculate about the motive for the GWB lane shutdowns. Forgive me for the lack of detailed references, but I have read so many pages of PDFs that my head is about to explode. I will put this as simply as possible: Christie and his staff, together, were determined that Fort Lee not be the recipient of a planned development project whose general goal was to improve traffic flow into New York. Christie was so bothered by this that he even put forward an opinion that Fort Lee gets a disproportionate share of the entry lanes under the current setup. A legitimate traffic study, involving simply cameras counting cars and no lane changes, was officially planned for September 2013, through proper channels, which would help determine fairly and scientifically whether this was true or not. In response David Wildstein's completely rogue "TL24" plan was hatched, unknown to the legitimate traffic study staff. Wildstein's "test," sprung at the last possible minute, involved shutting off 2 of 3 Fort Lee's lanes. Its purpose: slow down traffic from Fort Lee and create distorted results in the real traffic study, falsely indicating that Fort Lee didn't need the new development project, and therefore that it should be built elsewhere. Somewhere not so heavily represented Democratic state legislators, or perhaps somewhere where his cronies would get a bigger slice of the construction money.
The "TL24" plan went awry in 3 ways:
1) The professional traffic engineers, outside consultants, noticed Wildstein's intentional distortion of traffic patterns and sabotage of their study, done by stealing two Fort Lee Lanes, and decided they had to scrap their camera data gathered that week and redo their study;
2) The traffic jams in the town of Fort Lee were so huge they became an independent issue of their own, causing speculation about political retaliation or punitive motives;
3) Pat Foye himself, the Executive Director of the Port Authority, caught wind of what Wildstein was doing and angrily shut the totally rogue "TL24 test" down, sending an excoriating e-mail right to the Governor's office.
I really don't think logjamming Fort Lee with a 5 day traffic jam (mercifully cut to 4 by the righteous action of Pat Foye) so large it could be seen from space was the goal; I think Wildstein's job was to distort traffic numbers so that Christie and cronies could wrest control of future highway development money related to the George Washington Bridge and the passage into New York.