FLORENCE — A fracture on the Connector Bridge between the New Jersey Turnpike and Pennsylvania Turnpike was affecting both highways Friday afternoon.

New Jersey Turnpike spokesman Tom Feeney said an inspection on Friday afternoon revealed a fracture in one of the critical steel components on an eastbound approach ramp onto the Connector Bridge leaving Pennsylvania, forcing the immediate closure of the entire bridge in both directions.

"The bridge has been closed to traffic since they discovered it. They're stabilizing it and then we'll have to make some decisions about how to repair it after its stabilized," Feeney said. "It's a break, not just a hairline."

The bridge is jointly owned and maintained by both the New Jersey Turnpike and Pennsylvania Turnpike.

Exit No. 6 of the NJ Turnpike was closed because of the work.  The eastbound Pennsylvania Turnpike was also closed at exit No. 359 for Route 13, just before the bridge. Traffic was being diverted south on Route 13 to the Burlington Bridge which takes drivers back to the NJ Turnpike at Exit No. 5 in Mt. Holly.

On the New Jersey side, Route 295 is a good alternative around Turnpike delays although the Turnpike extension and Route 295 do not exit onto each other. Traffic cannot get onto the extension road from Route 130.

As of around 4:30 p.m., there was a multi-mile southbound delay on the Turnpike past Exit No. 6. Traffic was also increased on the Burlington-Bristol Bridge.

Feeney said inspectors were only arriving to assess the damage and did not know how long the bridge would be closed. "The fracture carries a significant load just because of its own weight even without vehicles," Feeney said.

This is a breaking story. Check back for additional details.

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

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