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PA-NJ Bridge Gets Emergency Inspections, Repairs

Friday, April 20, 2018

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A  major link between Philadelphia and Camden, New Jersey, will undergo repairs after a routine inspection uncovered “significant deterioration” of at least one steel member.

Ben Franklin Bridge
Beyond My Ken, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The Ben Franklin Bridge carries 100,000 vehicles between Philadelphia and Camden, New Jersey, daily.

The Ben Franklin Bridge, owned by the Delaware River Port Authority, carries 100,000 vehicles daily in addition to 40,000 PATCO train passengers, but the train system is limiting rail speeds for safety while a more thorough inspection takes place and repair plans are crafted.

Inspection Uncovered Movement

The damage was reportedly found late last month by contractors from HNTB Corp., who were inspecting the bridge as part of the planning process for future repairs and repainting. One inspector noticed unanticipated movement on a lateral brace when a PATCO train passed over the bridge, and crews brought in to further inspect found deterioration in the member.

The issue was not made public until a DRPA board meeting Wednesday (April 18).

HNTB and Cornell & Co., already working on the nearby DRPA-owned Walt Whitman Bridge, were retained to make repairs to the member in question, and inspect for further issues. According to CBS Philly, DRPA is eyeing up to five other areas that could be subject to similar problems.

Bridge Details

The Ben Franklin opened in 1926 and was the world's longest suspension bridge at the time, stretching 7,456 feet from end to end. 

The bridge's 2016 inspection reportedly uncovered only minor deterioration in the area where the problem was uncovered last month. DRPA already had steel repairs and maintenance painting in the works for the bridge in 2018 according to plans unveiled last November. The bridge will also undergo masonry rehabilitation and deck resurfacing this year. 


Tagged categories: Bridges; Infrastructure; Steel

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