Carriers finding ways around I-495 bridge, traffic

 A worker inspects the underside of the Interstate 495 bridge over the Christina River near Wilmington, Del., Tuesday 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 Semans

A worker inspects the underside of the Interstate 495 bridge over the Christina River near Wilmington, Del., Tuesday 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 Semans

The I-495 bridge closure in Delaware has caused seven-mile traffic backups on I-95 extending toward Philadelphia.

But, so far, those delays have not stopped carrier services including UPS and FedEx from delivering packages on time, company representatives say.

UPS has added more drivers and rerouted trucks as part of its contingency plan for this type of situation, said spokesman Dan McMackin.

“We’ve seen every kind of disruption you can think of, from hurricanes to hangovers, if you will, when the city has a party, or the marathon up in Boston,” McMackin said. “Whatever it is, our engineers can put a plan in place within a matter of hours.”

But as more drivers turn to alternative routes, congestion could get worse, said Jim Runk, president of the Pennsylvania Motor Truck Association.

“Companies are trying to find alternate routes to keep drivers as far away as possible,” said Runk. “But those alternate routes are going to be used by just about everyone else so those alternate routes could be busy.”

Delaware and Pennsylvania officials speculate that traffic will stabilize within a few weeks as the average  90,000 motorists using the bridge daily find alternate routes south, such as I-295 through New Jersey.

The bridge was closed this week after columns were found to be tilting. There is no indication when the bridge will reopen.

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