In an incident that probably affected thousands of Washington residents returning from the holiday weekend, the two stretches of the Delaware Memorial Bridge were felled for hours on Sunday on one of the busiest travel days of the year.
In the Twitter feed of the bridge, a member of the bridge team called the hour-long emergency closing a "traffic nightmare to say the least."
Bridge officials said on Twitter that the two spans of the bridge, one of the major east coast bus terminals, were closed as a result of a chemical gas leak at a Delaware plant near the northern port.
The closing of the bridge occurred around 17h30. The reopening of all the tracks of the bridge was announced around 11:30 p.m. in the Delaware Memorial Bridge twitter feed.
Two side-by-side extensions cross the Delaware River a few miles southeast of Wilmington, Del. To form the bridge. They provide an important road link on the coast of the cast, linking Interstate 95 to the New Jersey highway, among other routes.
After the bridge was closed, traffic was redirected to the upstream river crossings, according to a bridge tweet.
Traffic delays and hassles are part of the folklore of Thansgiving weekend. Many are climate dependent. Sunday, which occurred in good weather, was probably one of the least expected.
News from Philadelphia said the leak involved ethylene oxide. The gas has been described as highly flammable. It was reported on late Sunday night newscasts as fully contained.