Irene takes only small toll on area bridges

Bridge officials across the Delaware Valley are breathing easy in the wake of Hurricane Irene. Nearly all of the region’s spans are intact for travelers.

All four Delaware River Port Authority bridges are open for business this week. None of them were closed as Irene whipped through the region.

DRPA chief John Matheussen said Tuesday the bistate agency is pleased its assets made it through the storm unscathed.

“We’re very fortunate that in this particular case the storm could have been worse, but we prepared for something that didn’t necessarily come in quite the same breadth as we thought it would,” Matheussen said.

Donald Colosimo with the Montgomery County Department of Roads and Bridges is also relieved.

He said all of the county’s vehicular bridges are open, though a handful will require workers to remove some debris once floodwaters recede.

“Our modus operandi, if you will, is to get into the stream, pull the debris, cut it up, put it on the bank, haul it away,” Colosimo said. “So we are in the process of lining that up.”

The Delaware Memorial Bridge, which connects New Jersey to Delaware, was unaffected by Irene’s trip up the East Coast.

Joe Donnelly, a spokesman for the Delaware River Joint Toll Bridge Commission, said  most of his agency’s assets were officially open even during the storm.

“The closures that we did have really weren’t because of the bridges across the river were impacted by flooding it was the fact that the roadways leading to these bridges were flooded or closed off by local community,” Donnelly said.

One of the commission’s bridges, the Lower Trenton Bridge, was closed until Tuesday morning. Another, the Centre Bridge-Stockton Bridge, reopened Monday afternoon.

Meanwhile PennDOT officials said Tuesday evening two Bucks County bridges remained closed. Both on River Road in Solebury Township, one spans a tributary of the Delaware River and the other crosses Rabbits Run.

PennDOT had reopened 36 bridge in Bucks, Chester, Delaware and Montgomery counties following inspections.

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