Crack in Delaware River Bridge, Connecting Pennsylvania and New Jersey Turnpikes, Discovered During Paint Inspection Forces Shut Down

The extent of the damage and how long it will take for it to be repaired is not known

UPDATE: The bridge will be closed for at least two weeks. DETAILS HERE

An inspector reviewing the new paint job on the Delaware River Bridge, which connects the Pennsylvania and New Jersey Turnpikes, discovered a cracked truss that forced officials to close the span indefinitely.

The four-lane continuous truss bridge carries vehicles traveling east and west along Interstate 276 from Bucks County, Pennsylvania to Burlington County, New Jersey, over the Delaware River.

Tom Feeney, a spokesman for the New Jersey Turnpike Authority, which is part owner of the bridge along with the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission, said the rift was discovered Friday by an inspector who was evaluating paint work recently finished by a contractor.

Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission
The Delaware River Bridge, connecting the Pennsylvania and New Jersey Turnpikes, as seen from the banks of the Delaware River in Bucks County, Pennsylvania.

The inspector immediately alerted turnpike officials who shut down the 6,751-foot-long span. The 60-year-old bridge carries an average of 42,000 vehicles a day, according PennDOT.

The damaged truss is located on top of an approach span on the Pennsylvania side of the bridge, Feeney said. The size of the crack, extent of the damage and length of time it has been there was not immediately known.

Turnpike authority engineers are being to called in to assess the damage and determine the best course for stabilizing the bridge, which stands more than 135 feet high.

Officials could not say how long the repair would take, but did not expect the bridge to reopen this weekend.

Drivers will have to take a lengthy detour to get from one highway to another.

The Pennsylvania Turnpike will now end at the Delaware Valley interchange. Eastbound travelers are being advised to exit at the Bensalem interchange #351 and follow U.S. 1 north to Interstate 95 north; I-95 will become I-295 south; Take I-295 south to I-195 east to the N.J. Turnpike.

In New Jersey, turnpike officials have closed the 5.7-mile Pearl Harbor Extension that connects the main highway to the bridge. Westbound travelers can take the detour above in reverse.

Officials encourage drivers to use driving apps like Waze to help reroute them around the bridge.

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