Lanes on a busy bridge connecting Delaware and South Jersey reopened Wednesday after a construction fire closed it for hours.
The blaze broke out below the Delaware Memorial Bridge around 10 a.m. after welding sparks ignited construction materials closing both spans of the bridge over the Delaware River, Delaware River and Bay Authority spokesman James Salmon said.
Motorists experienced significant delays as traffic backed up past the toll plaza onto the New Jersey Turnpike and onto Interstate 295.
The New Jersey-bound (northbound) span reopened around 10:45 a.m. while the left two lanes of the Delaware-bound span reopened around 3 p.m. The right two lanes of the Delaware span reopened around 5 p.m.
The New Jersey Turnpike diverted all southbound traffic off the turnpike at Exit 4 during the closure.
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"I feel for the individuals in the traffic situation... it's not something we want to cause," Salmon said. "This is an accident."
As SkyForce10 hovered overhead you could see thick smoke coming from under the bridge on the Delaware side of the roadway.
The fire was under control by 10:50 a.m. but engineers inspected the bridge to make sure it was safe for travel.
"They want to make sure that it's absolutely, positively safe for individuals to travel across the bridge," Salmon said. "We're taking a conservative approach to this and making sure that the structural integrity of the bridge is intact."
No injuries were reported.