TRENTON — The afternoon commute will be a challenge for both drivers and road crews as the snowfall begins to come to an end.

Speed limits are reduced to 35 mph on the Garden State Parkway between Cape May and Sayreville and 45 mph north to the New York border.

State Police said they responded to 254 motor vehicle crashes on Thursday and were called out to assist drivers 554 times on the roads they patrol.

NJ Transit spokeswoman Nancy Snyder said ridership on its trains and buses is lighter than usual with cross-honoring in effect between trains, buses and light rail. It is operating on a normal weekday schedule on Thursday with plans to do so again on Friday.

State Department of Transportation spokesman Stephen Schapiro said there were 2,100 plows and spreaders on the roads "working very hard to keep state highways clear and safe for motorists."

"The roads are bad and we recommend people stay off them," Ocean County Sheriff Mike Mastronardy said. "Roads, for the most part, are passable" and towns are taking care of their secondary roads.

Road crews temporarily closed on-and-off ramps to allow for snow removal during the afternoon commute.

"Winds are picking up a little bit and we're concerned about power outages," Mastronardy said.

Meteorologist Dan Zarrow said that once the snow ends, gusty winds will make cleaning up a challenge.

"High winds can change road conditions in a matter of minutes after a plow comes through, which can leave them slippery," Schapiro said.

Crews already had a tough time keeping up with the heavy snow on Jersey Shore roads.

"When the snow comes down faster than you can do your route, the roads you might plow become snow covered again," Schapiro said.

Drivers during the afternoon need to slow down, make sure there's plenty of room between you and other vehicles and plan for some extra time, Schapiro advised.

Schapiro said workers will remain on the roads to clear off shoulders and to patrol overnight for areas that need to be re-treated because of icy patches.

Share your snow stories, pictures, and video with reporter Dan Alexander at Dan.Alexander@townsquaremedia.com or via Twitter @DanAlexanderNJ.

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