Close Call: Ship Carrying Tall Cranes to Narrowly Pass Below Delaware Memorial Bridge

Traffic along the spans between Delaware & New Jersey will be stopped so the tall Zhen Hua 16 can narrowly pass underneath

Zhen Hua Delaware Memorial Bridge
Delaware River and Bay Authority

A ship passing in the night is causing the brief closure of a major Philadelphia area bridge this weekend in what's expected to be a close encounter.

The Delaware River and Bay Authority is closing the Delaware Memorial Bridge early Saturday morning so that the Zhen Hua 16 can navigate under the spans connecting New Jersey and Delaware.

"As a precaution and to eliminate driver distraction, the Delaware Memorial Bridge, both northbound and southbound, will be temporarily closed to all traffic for a period of approximately 30 minutes while the ship travels north to Philadelphia," the DRBA said in a news release. "This temporary closure may take place sometime between 12:30 a.m. and 1:30 a.m."

Drivers are warned of delays and urged to use detours.

The reason for the precaution is that the distance from the water to the top of the Zhen Hua 16’s cranes is 188 feet, 5 inches. The ship will need to cross under the bridge at low tide to ensure it doesn’t strike the bridge.

The clearance for passage will only be between 4 to 9 feet, DRBA spokesman Jim Salmon told NBC10. 

Once the boat passes, traffic on the bridge will resume. The boat is destined for Philadelphia’s Packer Avenue Marine Terminal where the two new super-post-Panamax cranes will be dropped off, the DRBA said.

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