Busy Bridge Gets Stuck Open for Hours

It was a tough morning for a local bridge commission after one of the busiest bridges connecting Philadelphia to South Jersey got stuck in the up position for more than nine hours and that wasn't the only thing broken.

The Tacony Palmyra Bridge, which carries around 70,000 cars daily across the Delaware River, got stuck in the up position after a ship passed through around 12:45 a.m. Thursday, according to Burlington County Bridge Commission spokeswoman Liz Verna.

The 84-year-old drawbridge, which connects Route 73 from Burlington County, N.J. to the Tacony section of Northeast Philadelphia, got stuck in the upright position after a roller under the maintenance walkway seized, causing it to jam and the bridge to stop moving, according to Verna. One arm appeared to be fully up while the other was about halfway.

Verna confirms to NBC10 that there was no damage to the bridge and that only the maintenance walkway was involved in the incident, not the pedestrian sidewalk or road

The Betsy Ross Bridge to the south, which doesn’t open for large ships, served as an alternate but delays could be expected with more volume and heavy rain.

Not only did the bridge malfunction but the website of the Burlington County Bridge Commission, which operates the bridge, also wasn’t working Thursday morning.

Verna said the website crash was due to a phone problem and that it was back up and running by 11 a.m.

It wasn't clear if the rain hindered efforts to lower the bridge. Crews could be seen using some sort of torches on the open span. Verna said a repair crew that included maintenance staff and engineers worked to correct the problem.

The double-leaf bascule span was returned to the down position around 10 a.m. the but the closure remained in place until 11:40 a.m. so that the bridge could be inspected, Verna said..

Verna said she didn't know the last time the bridge didn't close.

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