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DRPA Set To Make Additional Repairs To Walt Whitman Bridge

By Jim Melwert

GLOUCESTER, N.J. (CBS) -- The Delaware River Port Authority is moving ahead with priority repairs to the Walt Whitman Bridge, after damage was found during an inspection in June.

That regular inspection found damage to several gusset plates -- the steel sheets that brace trusses under the bridge.

Fifteen of those plates needed immediate replacement.  Now, thirty others that were labeled "priority but not emergency" are being repaired.

DRPA chief executive officer John Hanson says if one of the gusset plates had failed, it wouldn't have caused a bridge collaase but would have caused damage to other supports, "which would been more expensive to do, taking greater time, and would have further inconvenienced commuters," he said today.  "But there was no danger to their safety."

The DRPA board voted  for several reasons to stay with the contractor that made the emergency repairs to the first 15 gusset plates, including, Hanson says, greater efficiency, lower cost, and quicker repairs.

"Our chief engineer will complete a contract modification with American Bridge to complete the other 30 priority gusset plates," he said today.

Hanson says these repairs shouldn't have any effect on traffic.   He says they estimate this round of repairs will cost $2.7 million.



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