Updates on PA and NJ Turnpikes’ Delaware River Bridge Closure

The Philadelphia Inquirer reports, “Transportation officials Saturday [January 21] were unable to say how long the heavily traveled Delaware River Bridge connecting the Pennsylvania Turnpike with New Jersey would stay closed as they work to repair a ruptured bridge truss. Officials said it would take two weeks before engineers have a full grasp of the extent of the damage, what kinds of repairs would be needed, and how long the bridge would remain closed.” The Inquirer adds, “’Due to the significant fracture, stresses have been redistributed to other parts of the bridge,’ said Brad Heigel, Pennsylvania Turnpike chief engineer.” The I-276 structure, which is jointly owned by the PTC and NJTA, is 1.2-miles long.

CBS News talks to PA Turnpike spokesman Carl DeFebo and reports that, “An engineer overseeing a paint job found a fracture beneath the surface. ‘This wasn’t a crack that happened over time, it [looks like] it happened quickly,’ [DeFebo said].” He added that if the fracture had not been found, “it could of been disastrous. ‘Worst case scenario could have been a bridge collapse.’”

The Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission has opened a web page to provide news alerts and updates about the bridge closure.