Part of Shuttered I-495 Bridge Could Open Early

The Delaware Department of Transportation said Wednesday that part of the I-495 bridge could open early, perhaps before Labor Day. Previous projections put the bridge opening sometime after the holiday.

The I-495 bridge has been closed since early June, when support columns for the bridge — which carries I-495 over the Christina River — were found to have tilted.

DelDOT is drilling 32 new shafts to create new support columns. That drilling is expected to be finished ahead of schedule, on Tuesday of next week, July 15th. Look how excited the press release is about it: “This is possible because the drilling operation has gone exceedingly well, and because all of the necessary personnel, material and equipment have converged from around the United States on the site when needed.” U-S-A! U-S-A!

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I-495 Bridge Closed Indefinitely Due to Tilting Support Columns

Crews work on the Interstate 495 bridge over the Christina River near Wilmington, Del., Tuesday, June 3, 2014, after it was closed due to the discovery of four tilting support columns. The closure created heavier-than-normal traffic conditions for motorists on Interstate 95, a major East Coast artery. The bridge normally carries about 90,000 vehicles a day. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)

Crews work on the Interstate 495 bridge over the Christina River near Wilmington, Del., Tuesday, June 3, 2014, after it was closed due to the discovery of four tilting support columns. The closure created heavier-than-normal traffic conditions for motorists on Interstate 95, a major East Coast artery. The bridge normally carries about 90,000 vehicles a day. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)

If you drive through the first state for work, your commute just got a bit worse. Okay, a lot worse.

Philly.com reports a bridge on I-495 in Delaware is closed indefinitely. Four columns that carry I-495 over the Christina River, a tributary of the Delaware, are tiled 2.4 degrees (or about 4 percent). Reports of the tilting columns came in Friday, but the bridge was not closed until Monday.

Officials say the bridge is considered fracture critical, which means the failure of one column could lead to the collapse of the entire bridge.

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New Jersey/Center City Commute to Be Hellish All Summer

Traffic on the Ben Franklin Bridge

Photo | Jeff Fusco

Commute between Center City Philadelphia and New Jersey? Starting next week, your trip over the Ben Franklin Bridge is going to suck, reports KYW 1060′s Mike DeNardo. Okay, he didn’t say it like that, but that’s what I got out of his report.

PATCO riders have been dealing with slow trains due to track work since a two-year, $103 million refurbishment project on the bridge began in January. Today, PATCO closed the south track; it’s expected to last 60 days. PATCO expects to lose 300,000 riders due to the summer closure.

Drivers start to feel the pain of bridge work starting today as well. During rush hour, one lane will be closed on the bridge, with two lanes shuttered during off-peak times.

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More Than 700 Evacuated from PATCO Train After Passengers Smell Smoke

Yesterday was a harrowing rush hour for commuters heading back to New Jersey. A PATCO train was evacuated after passengers smelled smoke, leaving hundreds of people stranded at the abandoned Franklin Square station just after 5 p.m. Monday. Officials say a short in the motor caused the smoke, though no train cars actually filled with smoke.

The train’s operator was treated with oxygen and taken to the hospital. Passengers were evacuated to another train that picked up the route. Per Action News, some decided to climb out of the Franklin Square station instead and get rides home.

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Your Average Commute Is Delayed 22% by Traffic Congestion

TomTom, the GPS that you used before iPhones turned into miniature Inspector Gadgets and did everything for you, puts out traffic congestion rankings, and its latest one suggests Philadelphia is not as bad as you’re always complaining it is. Among major cities TomTom surveyed in the US, Canada, and Brazil, Philadelphia ranks 24th of 61. The percentage of your commute time delayed by congestion is 22%.

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MAP: All of Philly’s Traffic Cameras

Never get caught speeding again. The city released the location of all its red-light traffic-enforcement cameras in July; now, developer Ken Lin has fashioned the best-yet map plotting their coordinates. Avoid ‘em, slow dow before, ‘em, whatever. Now you’ve got no excuse.

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