Authorities announced that the Delaware River Bridge will continue to remain closed, possibly for over two weeks, as it is undergoing emergency repairs.
Drivers are not likely to be happy. On Saturday, local authorities released a statement in regards the Delaware River Bridge. Its official name is the Delaware River – Turnpike Toll Bridge. It comes from the two authorities to have built it. And that also maintain it.
They are the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission or PTC. And also the New Jersey Turnpike Authority or NJTA.
On Saturday, the two released a statement. It is related to the issue detected on Friday. On January 20, bridge workers detected a cracked truss beam. This prompted immediate action.
The Delaware River Bridge was closed off. It carries 4 lanes. I-95 is on the New Jersey side. And I-276 is on the Pennsylvania one.
Friday, a resident engineer discovered a crack. This was detected in a structural steel component. And it was on the Pennsylvania side. It is situated below the westbound right lane’s riding surface.
Sean Logan, the PA Turnpike Chairman, offered some details. He stated as follows. “This was a unique and complete fracture which may have happened quickly due to changing weather conditions.”.
Following the discovery, immediate actions were taken. First, was the closing off of the bridge. This was taken to ensure the drivers’ safety. Next, the bridge was analyzed.
According to Logan, “We are stabilizing the bridge now to prevent further movement.” Repairs team are currently analyzing and assessing the situation.
The Delaware River Bridge will have to pass through a full-scale analysis. And a repair will have to be established. Logan stated that “out of an abundance of caution and to protect traveler safety, the bridge must remain closed […]”.
The aforementioned stabilization work is expected to be completed by the weekend. This involves adding new plates. They will have to reconnect the fractured truss piece.
Delaware River Bridge will go through a comprehensive analysis. This will have a very specific purpose. It will seek to evaluate the impact of this fractured piece. But on the whole bridge, and not just a part.
This assessment will take some time. Two weeks or more are to be expected. A more accurate timeline will probably be released. But mostly likely after the completion of the analysis. The timeline will most likely be accompanied by a strategy. This will target a permanent repair, according to the authorities.
The Delaware River Bridge is jointly owned by the PTC and NJTA. As such, the decision to close the bridge was mutual. This 1.2-miles long bridge was first opened for use in May 1996.
Unfortunately, the officials could not offer a precise time estimate. They are still unsure as to how long it will take to fully repair the bridge. After the analysis, this process could take days. But it could also mean weeks.
As such, the bridge will have to remain closed. Still, it will be monitored round-the-clock. This surveillance will be made through an HD video survey.
Brad Heigel, the PA Turnpike Chief Engineer also released a statement. He declared the following. “Due to significant fracture, stresses have been distributed to other parts of the bridge”.
He then continued with “We regret the inconvenience of closing the bridge, however, it is necessary to properly evaluate the bridge’s current condition and determine next steps to ensure the safety to our customers”.
The official stated that they will be offering updates to the public. And some detour information has also been offered. PA Turnpike drivers heading into east New Jersey should exit at the Bensalem Interchange.
From there, they can follow the U.S. Route 1 North. By taking Exit 6 on I-195, they can reenter the Turnpike. I-95 will take them North. I-295 will go South. And I-195 will be heading East.
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