'Extreme' delays for 1st rush hour without Turnpike bridge

- It’s as if high wind and heavy rain aren’t enough.

Both Pennsylvania and New Jersey Turnpike authorities say the closure of the major I-276 bridge over the Delaware River will likely cause "extreme" delays for commuters. Keep in mind, lots of big rigs use that bridge, and their drivers will be taking alternatives, along with the rest of us.

Severe traffic is expected at all other area river crossings. Drivers are being asked to carpool or consider working from home, changing work hours, or using public transit.

(Click the bridge picture to see the problem that has the Turnpike bridge shut down.)

FOX 29's Bob Kelly says warning signs are up all over the highways, but you should know your alternative before you even leave home. Even then, expect delays.

Over the weekend, when there’s less traffic, more drivers used the Trenton-Morrisville (Route 1) Toll Bridge and Scudder Falls (I-95) Bridge, and even more are expected during the workweek.

Add to that, the Delaware River Joint Toll Bridge Commission issued a Monday morning travel advisory for commuters on five of its southernmost bridges between Bucks County and Mercer County:

    Trenton-Morrisville (Route 1) Toll Bridge (both directions)
    Scudder Falls (I-95) Bridge (both directions)
    Lower Trenton (“Trenton Makes” Toll-Supported Bridge (eastbound)
    Calhoun Street Toll-Supported Bridge (eastbound)
    Washington Crossing Toll-Supported Bridge (eastbound)

The Monday morning alert lasts until 11am. The commission is also asking drivers to allow extra time to reach their destinations, and notes congestion and delays have been especially prevalent at the Route 29 exit ramp off Route 1 northbound, immediately after the Trenton-Morrisville Toll Bridge.

You’ll remember, Friday, the turnpike bridge was shut down after workers spotted a crack in one of the steel components, called a truss. It was below the westbound right lane's riding surface on the Pennsylvania side.

First, workers added new plates to reconnect the fractured truss piece, to stabilize the bridge and prevent further movement.

But, the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission said a comprehensive analysis is needed to understand how the fracture affected the entire bridge. That could take two weeks, and there's no estimate when the bridge may be reopened.

Sunday, the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission launched a new web feature to give drivers live updates. Click here to see it.

An estimated 42,000 vehicles use the bridge connecting the turnpikes over the Delaware River daily. The 1.5-mile-long Delaware River Bridge opened to traffic back on May 23, 1956.

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