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March 09, 2017

Delaware River Turnpike Bridge reopening ahead of schedule

The Delaware River Turnpike Bridge, closed for emergency repairs since the discovery of a fractured truss on January 20, will reopen ahead of schedule Thursday night after officials with the Pennsylvania and New Jersey turnpikes determined the 1.25-mile-long structure is safe for travel.

In a statement, the Pennsylvania Turnpike said the bridge, which opened in 1956 and connects Bristol to Burlington, will reopen late tonight around 10:30 p.m.

"Many people were greatly inconvenienced by this closure over the last seven weeks, and I know that everyone is excited to get this bridge reopened and to see their lives return to normal," said Pennsylvania Turnpike CEO Mark Compton. "Beyond a doubt, this incident was a bad dream for the two turnpike agencies and the contractors and consultants on our team, but a nightmare for customers and neighbors."

The complete fracture of the truss, found in the bridge's superstructure beneath the westbound lanes on the Pennsylvania side, has been repaired and thoroughly inspected for safety. As recently as last week, it was believed that the timeline for the bridge's reopening would extend into April. Officials said temperate weather and an aggressive work schedule enabled them to speed up the process.

"We pledged to reopen the bridge as soon as we could so safely," said New Jersey Transportation Commissioner Richard T. Hammer, who also chairs the New Jersey Turnpike Authority board. "Thanks to a round-the-clock effort involving dozens of engineers, contractors, scientists and other workers, we are able to get that done much sooner than we expected with every confidence that it will be safe for the motorists who depend on it."