FLORENCE —The connector bridge between the New Jersey Turnpike and the Pennsylvania Turnpike will remain closed on Saturday, forcing thousands to find another way over the Delaware River.

The bridge, which carries 42,000 vehicles a day on Route 276, was abruptly closed on Friday afternoon after a routine inspection revealed a fracture in a steel truss underneath a bridge deck on the eastbound side in Pennsylvania. The truss must be replaced before the bridge can be reopened, according to the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission.

Area of Connector Bridge with a fracture (6 ABC Action News)

“Keeping this bridge closed is the right decision for the safety of both our travelers and workers. The bridge will remain closed through (Saturday), at the very least, and we urge motorists to plan to take an alternate route and expect delays," PA Turnpike Chairman Sean Logan said.

In New Jersey, the bridge has also closed the NJ Turnpike/PA Turnpike Extension, also known as the Pearl Harbor Extension at Exit 6 from the mainline Turnpike. There is also no access to the Extension from Route 130 in Florence.

New Jersey Fast Traffic's Bob Williams said drivers headed to Pennsylvania from the Turnpike can use Route 195 west to Route 295 north, which then becomes Route 95 south. "Jump on Route 1 south in PA because 95 doesn't connect with the PA Turnpike," Williams said. "Or you can stay on Route 195, which becomes Route 29 heading into Trenton where you can pick up Route 1 directly."

Williams said that "No matter what alternative you are considering, this bridge closure will definately cause inconvenience and delays."

The Burlington Bristol Bridge off Route 295 and Route 78 are good alternatives as well, according to Williams.

Meteorologist Dan Zarrow said heavy rain and gusty winds are expected to move into New Jersey on Sunday, which would hamper repair efforts.

Contact reporter Dan Alexander at Dan.Alexander@townsquaremedia.com.

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