AARoads Forum

National Boards => Bridges => Topic started by: Roadgeekteen on May 14, 2021, 10:37:27 PM

Title: What bridge closure would cause the most chaos/disruption?
Post by: Roadgeekteen on May 14, 2021, 10:37:27 PM
Inspired by the Hernando De Soto bridge closing. I would go with either the George Washington Bridge or the Bay Bridge.
Title: Re: What bridge closure would cause the most chaos/disruption?
Post by: Max Rockatansky on May 14, 2021, 10:48:42 PM
Any of the Bay Area Bridges would be a disaster.
Title: Re: What bridge closure would cause the most chaos/disruption?
Post by: jeffandnicole on May 14, 2021, 10:50:35 PM
The I-95 Tydings Bridge in Maryland.  There isn't an easy way around that which could handle the traffic, including local roadways and other bridges.
Title: Re: What bridge closure would cause the most chaos/disruption?
Post by: Roadgeekteen on May 14, 2021, 10:53:07 PM
The I-95 Tydings Bridge in Maryland.  There isn't an easy way around that which could handle the traffic, including local roadways and other bridges.
At least the 4 lane US 40 bridge is nearby.
Title: Re: What bridge closure would cause the most chaos/disruption?
Post by: kkt on May 14, 2021, 11:34:04 PM
Inspired by the Hernando De Soto bridge closing. I would go with either the George Washington Bridge or the Bay Bridge.

Remember when there was a gasoline tanker truck fire directly under the 580 ramp over 880, so that coming off the Bay Bridge your only option was I-80 east?  And southbound 880 was also blocked by the fallen 580 ramp?  Fun times.
Caltrans and their contractor C. C. Myers are to be congratulated on getting it reopened in only a week.
Title: Re: What bridge closure would cause the most chaos/disruption?
Post by: webny99 on May 14, 2021, 11:42:34 PM
Yeah, the GWB makes sense at the top of the list, but really, there are so many examples across the country that maybe we could break it down by each metro area...

For my area, it would be I-490 over the Genesee River. Also honorable mention for NY 104 over the Irondequoit Bay because there are so few alternates, and the routes south of the bay are already very busy.
Title: Re: What bridge closure would cause the most chaos/disruption?
Post by: Jim on May 14, 2021, 11:49:45 PM
I am sure many recall when Canada's road network was split in two by this bridge closure in 2016:

https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/thunder-bay/nipigon-river-bridge-closed-transcanada-1.3397831
Title: Re: What bridge closure would cause the most chaos/disruption?
Post by: Roadgeekteen on May 14, 2021, 11:51:17 PM
In Boston probably the Zakim Bridge.
Title: Re: What bridge closure would cause the most chaos/disruption?
Post by: D-Dey65 on May 15, 2021, 12:07:46 AM
The I-95 Tydings Bridge in Maryland.  There isn't an easy way around that which could handle the traffic, including local roadways and other bridges.
At least the 4 lane US 40 bridge is nearby.
Yeah, but I'm not entirely sure it can handle the traffic that would normally take the Tydings Bridge for a long enough time.

Title: Re: What bridge closure would cause the most chaos/disruption?
Post by: Roadgeekteen on May 15, 2021, 12:09:30 AM
I just thought of the Delaware Memorial Bridge. It would cause a traffic nightmare in Philly, although it would be a bit better now that I-95 has been completed.
Title: Re: What bridge closure would cause the most chaos/disruption?
Post by: dlsterner on May 15, 2021, 12:16:53 AM
At least for the MD/DC/VA area, I would think that the Woodrow Wilson Bridge would be at or near the top of the list.  (For the non-locals, the I-95/495 bridge across the Potomac).
Title: Re: What bridge closure would cause the most chaos/disruption?
Post by: sprjus4 on May 15, 2021, 12:27:00 AM
Any of the three Hampton Roads crossings, though more notably the interstate ones.

US-17 JRB, I-664 MMMBT, I-64 HRBT
Title: Re: What bridge closure would cause the most chaos/disruption?
Post by: MCRoads on May 15, 2021, 12:50:19 AM
Any of the three Hampton Roads crossings, though more notably the interstate ones.

US-17 JRB, I-664 MMMBT, I-64 HRBT

All 3 were closed simultaneously in 2009, evidently that was a shitstorm of epic proportions.

If anyone has seen the newest 24 series, the GWB was the subject of a truck bombing. Honestly, I think that is a very scary thing that, if it happened, would have effects on a regional, or possibly national, scale. I believe that they have truck inspections entering the bridge to avoid this, but I can think of many busy/important bridges that donít. Itís scary to think that someone with bad intentions could cripple an entire regionís transportation network.
Title: Re: What bridge closure would cause the most chaos/disruption?
Post by: Roadgeekteen on May 15, 2021, 01:02:57 AM
Any of the three Hampton Roads crossings, though more notably the interstate ones.

US-17 JRB, I-664 MMMBT, I-64 HRBT

All 3 were closed simultaneously in 2009, evidently that was a shitstorm of epic proportions.

If anyone has seen the newest 24 series, the GWB was the subject of a truck bombing. Honestly, I think that is a very scary thing that, if it happened, would have effects on a regional, or possibly national, scale. I believe that they have truck inspections entering the bridge to avoid this, but I can think of many busy/important bridges that donít. Itís scary to think that someone with bad intentions could cripple an entire regionís transportation network.
I would imagine that I-287 would get crazy if the GWB was closed, same with the two tunnels.
Title: Re: What bridge closure would cause the most chaos/disruption?
Post by: michravera on May 15, 2021, 02:36:05 AM
Any of the Bay Area Bridges would be a disaster.

We had the Bay bridge closed for several weeks after the Loma Prieta earthquake. It wasn't fun, but, since the BART tube came through it OK, life wasn't impossible. We also have CASR-92, I-580, CASR-84, -237, and -37 to get you around or over The Bay. We have I-280, -580, -880, and -980 as alternates for each other.  We have quite a bit of built in redundancy such that, once the immediate problem is resolved (people get off of the Bridge that had the initial problem), long term people can work around most closures. For example, CASR-99, I-5, and US-101 (and to a certain extent US-395 and CASR-65 where built can, if you know about a problem far enough in advance, be used in place of each other. Same goes for US-50 and I-80. Same goes for CASR-41, -46, and -58. Also, CASR-25, -152, and -156. Now, I won't say that we have a lot of excess capacity to deal with any single failure, but people would be able to get where they want to go.

My hunch is that there is a bridge over some gully along either I-8, -10, or -15 around which it might not be possible easily to work. Once again, as long as it were only one gully on one of these roads, before long people would figure a way around it (possibly using one of the others mentioned), but, off hand, it looks like there would be serious diversions for those who are unprepared.

If you want to cause the most inconvenience to the most people for the longest period of time, find a heavily populated island group with water that is too shallow to take ocean-going vessels. So, my guess is that you might find such a bridge in the Florida Keys.
Title: Re: What bridge closure would cause the most chaos/disruption?
Post by: Roadgeekteen on May 15, 2021, 02:40:32 AM
Any of the Bay Area Bridges would be a disaster.

We had the Bay bridge closed for several weeks after the Loma Prieta earthquake. It wasn't fun, but, since the BART tube came through it OK, life wasn't impossible. We also have CASR-92, I-580, CASR-84, -237, and -37 to get you around or over The Bay. We have I-280, -580, -880, and -980 as alternates for each other.  We have quite a bit of built in redundancy such that, once the immediate problem is resolved (people get off of the Bridge that had the initial problem), long term people can work around most closures. For example, CASR-99, I-5, and US-101 (and to a certain extend US-395 and CASR-65 where built can, if you know about a problem far enough in advance, be used in place of each other. Same goes for US-50 and I-80. Same goes for CASR-41, -46, and -58. Also, CASR-25, -152, and -156. Now, I won't say that we have a lot of excess capacity to deal with any single failure, but people would be able to get where they want to go.

My hunch is that there is a bridge over some gully along either I-8, -10, or -15 around which it might not be possible easily to work. Once again, as long as it were only one gully on one of these roads, before long people would figure a way around it (possibly using one of the others mentioned), but, off hand, it looks like there would be serious diversions for those who are unprepared.

If you want to cause the most inconvenience to the most people for the longest period of time, find a heavily populated island group with water that is too shallow to take ocean-going vessels. So, my guess is that you might find such a bridge in the Florida Keys.
Oh I forgot about the CA 91 bridge.
Title: Re: What bridge closure would cause the most chaos/disruption?
Post by: Great Lakes Roads on May 15, 2021, 03:34:31 AM
The Sherman Milton Bridge (I-64) in the Louisville metro area... If this bridge closed right now, well... it would cause traffic chaos, especially the Clark Memorial Bridge (US 31) would be the only "toll-free" option to cross the Ohio River in the Louisville metro...
Title: Re: What bridge closure would cause the most chaos/disruption?
Post by: sprjus4 on May 15, 2021, 04:06:23 AM
It would only be right to suspend or significantly reduce toll rates on the I-265 bridge if something were to happen with I-64.

Would it cost money? Sure. But build it into the cost of repairs on I-64.

Hereís an example that goes with this thread and of removing the toll on a route as a needed detour - the Pensacola Bay Bridge.
Title: Re: What bridge closure would cause the most chaos/disruption?
Post by: jeffandnicole on May 15, 2021, 08:08:19 AM
The I-95 Tydings Bridge in Maryland.  There isn't an easy way around that which could handle the traffic, including local roadways and other bridges.
At least the 4 lane US 40 bridge is nearby.

I was waiting for this, and it didn't take long for the crticial thinking aspect of this exercise to fall apart. Yes, the 4 lane US 40 bridge is nearby. Which already handles a good amount of traffic. Now, put 10 lanes of traffic on a 4 lane bridge and see how that would work out. Both bridges experience congestion already.

Also, it's not just the bridge, it's getting to the bridge. You can't put tens of thousands of cars on local roads without the entire area becoming a major cluster. Locals still need to get around.

Truck traffic would also be unbearable for the region.

Using 301 to bypass the region would help for poong distance traffic. But it's a detour one would.need to know well in advance.
Title: Re: What bridge closure would cause the most chaos/disruption?
Post by: Rothman on May 15, 2021, 09:29:30 AM
Any of the three Hampton Roads crossings, though more notably the interstate ones.

US-17 JRB, I-664 MMMBT, I-64 HRBT

All 3 were closed simultaneously in 2009, evidently that was a shitstorm of epic proportions.

If anyone has seen the newest 24 series, the GWB was the subject of a truck bombing. Honestly, I think that is a very scary thing that, if it happened, would have effects on a regional, or possibly national, scale. I believe that they have truck inspections entering the bridge to avoid this, but I can think of many busy/important bridges that donít. Itís scary to think that someone with bad intentions could cripple an entire regionís transportation network.
Don't take fiction for reality.
Title: Re: What bridge closure would cause the most chaos/disruption?
Post by: GaryV on May 15, 2021, 10:16:41 AM
For a long detour, the Mackinac Bridge would be a contender.  Over twice as long as if the Chesapeake Bridge/Tunnel was closed.
Title: Re: What bridge closure would cause the most chaos/disruption?
Post by: ozarkman417 on May 15, 2021, 11:47:27 AM
For any bridge in Missouri, it would be the I-70 Rocheport Bridge, aka the "Lynchpin of America".  Within 48 hours, cargo destined to all 48 contiguous states travel this bridge, while also being an important link between the 1st, 2nd, and 4th largest cities in the state, which I suppose is why replacing it is so important..

Alternative routes exist, though. Traffic could use US 54 to cross the Missouri at Jeff City, from there taking US 50 to US 65 back up to I-70.
Title: Re: What bridge closure would cause the most chaos/disruption?
Post by: roadman65 on May 15, 2021, 11:58:54 AM
The George Washington Bridge for sure.  Or basically any bridge in NYC.
Title: Re: What bridge closure would cause the most chaos/disruption?
Post by: CoreySamson on May 15, 2021, 12:13:45 PM
The Horace Wilkinson Bridge in Baton Rouge would be a complete disaster if it closed. All through traffic would have to use the US 190 bridge instead, and traffic backs up already on the I-10 bridge to boot.

On a lesser extent, the I-20 bridge in Vicksburg. The closest river bridges to that are Natchez and Greenville.
Title: Re: What bridge closure would cause the most chaos/disruption?
Post by: mrose on May 15, 2021, 12:51:25 PM
For sheer inconvenience to anyone that used it, I'd go with the Mackinac Bridge. Your alternatives are a ferry or you go the opposite way around nearly the entire circumference of Lake Michigan.

Otherwise I can't think of too many that'd be worse than the Memphis bridge. That's got to be in the top five on the list, I think just by virtue that there's only one alternative which isn't a great one and runs into a substandard interchange, and then the fact that I-40 is, well, I-40.



Title: Re: What bridge closure would cause the most chaos/disruption?
Post by: Flint1979 on May 15, 2021, 02:45:27 PM
I'll have to agree with the Mackinac Bridge. I have been on the U.P. side when the bridge closed before and had to spend the night in St Ignace.
Title: Re: What bridge closure would cause the most chaos/disruption?
Post by: Roadgeekteen on May 15, 2021, 03:01:39 PM
Another one I thought about would be either of the two Cape Cod Canal bridges during the summer.
Title: Re: What bridge closure would cause the most chaos/disruption?
Post by: 1995hoo on May 15, 2021, 03:57:18 PM
At least for the MD/DC/VA area, I would think that the Woodrow Wilson Bridge would be at or near the top of the list.  (For the non-locals, the I-95/495 bridge across the Potomac).

It was hideous here in 1998 the day the bridge was closed because some idiot was threatening to jump off. Backups of over 20 miles on the highway and gridlock on the surface streets after the authorities blocked the entrance ramps to prevent the highway from getting any worse.
Title: Re: What bridge closure would cause the most chaos/disruption?
Post by: SectorZ on May 15, 2021, 04:01:32 PM
If we can get non-fictional for a second, anyone living around Boston wouldn't expect that the Long Island Bridge from Quincy to Boston's Long Island would be the crapstorm it is, and it has nothing to do with traffic.
Title: Re: What bridge closure would cause the most chaos/disruption?
Post by: Rothman on May 15, 2021, 04:02:46 PM
At least for the MD/DC/VA area, I would think that the Woodrow Wilson Bridge would be at or near the top of the list.  (For the non-locals, the I-95/495 bridge across the Potomac).

It was hideous here in 1998 the day the bridge was closed because some idiot was threatening to jump off. Backups of over 20 miles on the highway and gridlock on the surface streets after the authorities blocked the entrance ramps to prevent the highway from getting any worse.
Hey, I was also in the area for that.  That was a day to remember.
Title: Re: What bridge closure would cause the most chaos/disruption?
Post by: BridgesToIdealism on May 15, 2021, 07:56:46 PM
At least for the MD/DC/VA area, I would think that the Woodrow Wilson Bridge would be at or near the top of the list.  (For the non-locals, the I-95/495 bridge across the Potomac).

It was hideous here in 1998 the day the bridge was closed because some idiot was threatening to jump off. Backups of over 20 miles on the highway and gridlock on the surface streets after the authorities blocked the entrance ramps to prevent the highway from getting any worse.
Hey, I was also in the area for that.  That was a day to remember.

Similar thing happened with the Chesapeake Bay Bridge (US 50), I think last summer. Somebody I believe on three separate occasions climbed one of the suspension towers of the westbound bridge and refused to come down. On one occasion they held up the bridge for over 12 hours.
Title: Re: What bridge closure would cause the most chaos/disruption?
Post by: bing101 on May 15, 2021, 08:43:39 PM
Any Bridge in New York City area would be in similar situation.
Title: Re: What bridge closure would cause the most chaos/disruption?
Post by: MCRoads on May 15, 2021, 09:31:53 PM
At least for the MD/DC/VA area, I would think that the Woodrow Wilson Bridge would be at or near the top of the list.  (For the non-locals, the I-95/495 bridge across the Potomac).

It was hideous here in 1998 the day the bridge was closed because some idiot was threatening to jump off. Backups of over 20 miles on the highway and gridlock on the surface streets after the authorities blocked the entrance ramps to prevent the highway from getting any worse.
Hey, I was also in the area for that.  That was a day to remember.

Similar thing happened with the Chesapeake Bay Bridge (US 50), I think last summer. Somebody I believe on three separate occasions climbed one of the suspension towers of the westbound bridge and refused to come down. On one occasion they held up the bridge for over 12 hours.

Now thatís persistence!

But, I would think that that may not have caused as much chaos as some others on this thread, considering that the eastbound span can be used as a 2-way bridge quite easily. So at least you wouldnít have to drive a super long way to avoid it, you would just have to deal with a delay.
Title: Re: What bridge closure would cause the most chaos/disruption?
Post by: SkyPesos on May 15, 2021, 09:57:20 PM
Iím trying to think of a scenario in either St Louis or Cincinnati, but completely closing the PSB or Brent Spence doesnít seem as bad as the Memphis bridge, even though we experienced a complete Brent Spence closure a couple of months ago, as thereís 3 alternative interstate bridges in each metro area.
Title: Re: What bridge closure would cause the most chaos/disruption?
Post by: Roadgeekteen on May 15, 2021, 10:03:12 PM
At least for the MD/DC/VA area, I would think that the Woodrow Wilson Bridge would be at or near the top of the list.  (For the non-locals, the I-95/495 bridge across the Potomac).

It was hideous here in 1998 the day the bridge was closed because some idiot was threatening to jump off. Backups of over 20 miles on the highway and gridlock on the surface streets after the authorities blocked the entrance ramps to prevent the highway from getting any worse.
Hey, I was also in the area for that.  That was a day to remember.

Similar thing happened with the Chesapeake Bay Bridge (US 50), I think last summer. Somebody I believe on three separate occasions climbed one of the suspension towers of the westbound bridge and refused to come down. On one occasion they held up the bridge for over 12 hours.

Now that’s persistence!

But, I would think that that may not have caused as much chaos as some others on this thread, considering that the eastbound span can be used as a 2-way bridge quite easily. So at least you wouldn’t have to drive a super long way to avoid it, you would just have to deal with a delay.
If both spans closed it would be a disaster.
Title: Re: What bridge closure would cause the most chaos/disruption?
Post by: Flint1979 on May 16, 2021, 05:48:20 PM
The one over the drainage ditch on US-50 in Nevada.
Title: Re: What bridge closure would cause the most chaos/disruption?
Post by: MCRoads on May 16, 2021, 08:36:42 PM
The one over the drainage ditch on US-50 in Nevada.

Is that based on experience?
Title: Re: What bridge closure would cause the most chaos/disruption?
Post by: Roadgeekteen on May 16, 2021, 08:54:44 PM
The one over the drainage ditch on US-50 in Nevada.
Why?
Title: Re: What bridge closure would cause the most chaos/disruption?
Post by: 1 on May 16, 2021, 09:27:28 PM
The one over the drainage ditch on US-50 in Nevada.
Why?

It's so lightly traveled that it would go unreported, and cars would be required to backtrack. You need to plan fuel trips and sometimes food trips accordingly, so drivers would get stuck backtracking, sometimes over 100 miles. While it doesn't affect a large number of drivers, it severely affects the ones who do go that way.
Title: Re: What bridge closure would cause the most chaos/disruption?
Post by: Flint1979 on May 16, 2021, 09:33:32 PM
The one over the drainage ditch on US-50 in Nevada.
Why?

It's so lightly traveled that it would go unreported, and cars would be required to backtrack. You need to plan fuel trips and sometimes food trips accordingly, so drivers would get stuck backtracking, sometimes over 100 miles. While it doesn't affect a large number of drivers, it severely affects the ones who do go that way.
That would suck.
Title: Re: What bridge closure would cause the most chaos/disruption?
Post by: MCRoads on May 16, 2021, 09:58:30 PM
The one over the drainage ditch on US-50 in Nevada.
Why?

It's so lightly traveled that it would go unreported, and cars would be required to backtrack. You need to plan fuel trips and sometimes food trips accordingly, so drivers would get stuck backtracking, sometimes over 100 miles. While it doesn't affect a large number of drivers, it severely affects the ones who do go that way.
That would suck.

Has this happened before?
Title: Re: What bridge closure would cause the most chaos/disruption?
Post by: Revive 755 on May 16, 2021, 11:03:40 PM
Probably any mainline bridge on I-80 between the I-294 interchange and IN 912, possibly eastward to I-65.
Title: Re: What bridge closure would cause the most chaos/disruption?
Post by: roadman65 on May 16, 2021, 11:13:03 PM
Any bridge on US 1 south of Key Largo would trap anyone in the Keys south of whatever bridge.
Title: Re: What bridge closure would cause the most chaos/disruption?
Post by: Roadgeekteen on May 16, 2021, 11:14:14 PM
The closure of the ōresund Bridge would force travelers to get a Russian visa.
Title: Re: What bridge closure would cause the most chaos/disruption?
Post by: GaryV on May 17, 2021, 08:18:42 AM
The closure of the ōresund Bridge would force travelers to get a Russian visa.
There are ferries.
Title: Re: What bridge closure would cause the most chaos/disruption?
Post by: Roadgeekteen on May 17, 2021, 08:19:30 AM
The closure of the ōresund Bridge would force travelers to get a Russian visa.
There are ferries.
Is there a car ferry?
Title: Re: What bridge closure would cause the most chaos/disruption?
Post by: Flint1979 on May 17, 2021, 08:26:42 AM
The one over the drainage ditch on US-50 in Nevada.
Why?

It's so lightly traveled that it would go unreported, and cars would be required to backtrack. You need to plan fuel trips and sometimes food trips accordingly, so drivers would get stuck backtracking, sometimes over 100 miles. While it doesn't affect a large number of drivers, it severely affects the ones who do go that way.
That would suck.

Has this happened before?
I doubt it I made the post to be sarcastic.
Title: Re: What bridge closure would cause the most chaos/disruption?
Post by: D-Dey65 on May 17, 2021, 08:34:00 AM
Any of the Bay Area Bridges would be a disaster.
We had the Bay bridge closed for several weeks after the Loma Prieta earthquake. It wasn't fun, but, since the BART tube came through it OK, life wasn't impossible.
I remember worrying about BART during that quake, and I was amazed that it survived.  I suppose if the epicenter was in the San Francisco Bay, they wouldn't be so lucky.
Title: Re: What bridge closure would cause the most chaos/disruption?
Post by: kkt on May 17, 2021, 10:28:47 AM
Any of the Bay Area Bridges would be a disaster.
We had the Bay bridge closed for several weeks after the Loma Prieta earthquake. It wasn't fun, but, since the BART tube came through it OK, life wasn't impossible.
I remember worrying about BART during that quake, and I was amazed that it survived.  I suppose if the epicenter was in the San Francisco Bay, they wouldn't be so lucky.

The bedrock moves as a unit, so buried structures usually do okay as long as there's not liquefaction.  Above-ground structures get shaken just from the foundation so it creates more stress on the sides and top of the structure.

Title: Re: What bridge closure would cause the most chaos/disruption?
Post by: jmacswimmer on May 17, 2021, 10:44:18 AM
I just thought of the Delaware Memorial Bridge. It would cause a traffic nightmare in Philly, although it would be a bit better now that I-95 has been completed.

This actually has happened once - The DMB was closed for about 6 hours on the Sunday after Thanksgiving 2018 (aka one of the busiest travel days of the year) courtesy of a chemical leak from a plant adjacent to I-295 on the DE side. (https://www.google.com/maps/@39.6944181,-75.536807,3a,75y,235.39h,81.57t/data=!3m6!1e1!3m4!1siU9-BrbTFrimPn8i93coKA!2e0!7i16384!8i8192!5m1!1e1?hl=en)

From what I remember looking at Google Traffic during the closure, the Commodore Barry Bridge was at a standstill both directions and the NJTP began forcing SB traffic off as far back as exit 4.  (And FWIW, the complete I-95 would have been open 2 months at that point.)

Link to a WashPoint article about it: https://www.washingtonpost.com/local/delaware-bridge-shut-down-for-hours-sunday-in-traffic-nightmare/2018/11/26/42dde1ce-f149-11e8-aeea-b85fd44449f5_story.html

If both spans [of the Chesapeake Bay Bridge] closed it would be a disaster.

Also happened, this one just a few weeks ago - a police chase that went over the Bay Bridge and ultimately ended on Kent Island shut down both spans for several hours on a Saturday morning.  Would have been much worse if it happened on, say, a Friday or Sunday afternoon in July, but still caused several miles of completely stopped traffic on either side.

Article link: https://www.nbcwashington.com/news/local/transportation/backup-on-chesapeake-bay-bridge-after-closure/2665574/
Title: Re: What bridge closure would cause the most chaos/disruption?
Post by: Roadgeekteen on May 17, 2021, 10:48:10 AM
I just thought of the Delaware Memorial Bridge. It would cause a traffic nightmare in Philly, although it would be a bit better now that I-95 has been completed.

This actually has happened once - The DMB was closed for about 6 hours on the Sunday after Thanksgiving 2018 (aka one of the busiest travel days of the year) courtesy of a chemical leak from a plant adjacent to I-295 on the DE side. (https://www.google.com/maps/@39.6944181,-75.536807,3a,75y,235.39h,81.57t/data=!3m6!1e1!3m4!1siU9-BrbTFrimPn8i93coKA!2e0!7i16384!8i8192!5m1!1e1?hl=en)

From what I remember looking at Google Traffic during the closure, the Commodore Barry Bridge was at a standstill both directions and the NJTP began forcing SB traffic off as far back as exit 4.  (And FWIW, the complete I-95 would have been open 2 months at that point.)

Link to a WashPoint article about it: https://www.washingtonpost.com/local/delaware-bridge-shut-down-for-hours-sunday-in-traffic-nightmare/2018/11/26/42dde1ce-f149-11e8-aeea-b85fd44449f5_story.html

If both spans [of the Chesapeake Bay Bridge] closed it would be a disaster.

Also happened, this one just a few weeks ago - a police chase that went over the Bay Bridge and ultimately ended on Kent Island shut down both spans for several hours on a Saturday morning.  Would have been much worse if it happened on, say, a Friday or Sunday afternoon in July, but still caused several miles of completely stopped traffic on either side.

Article link: https://www.nbcwashington.com/news/local/transportation/backup-on-chesapeake-bay-bridge-after-closure/2665574/
If the Chesapeake Bay bridge was closed, what would the detour be?
Title: Re: What bridge closure would cause the most chaos/disruption?
Post by: webny99 on May 17, 2021, 11:05:49 AM
If the Chesapeake Bay bridge was closed, what would the detour be?

Depends on your exact origin/destination but probably I-95 to one of MD 213/DE 896/DE 1 to US 301.
Title: Re: What bridge closure would cause the most chaos/disruption?
Post by: SkyPesos on May 17, 2021, 11:35:16 AM
Another scenario: As US 35 east of Dayton is part of a vital shipping route between the Midwest and Southern VA and Central/Eastern NC, and its Ohio River bridge is the only one for quite some distance in both directions of the river, carrying as much traffic as I-77 upstream over the river. If its bridge over the Ohio River closed, what would be some detour routes to get onto the WV turnpike from Ohio? From Columbus or Detroit, US 33 south of Columbus would be a no-brainer. From Chicago, could also use US 33, but could also cross at Huntington via I-70/US 35/23 or I-74/OH 32/OH 73 between Indy and Portsmouth. There may be another one that I can think of rn.
Title: Re: What bridge closure would cause the most chaos/disruption?
Post by: MinecraftNinja on May 17, 2021, 12:18:27 PM
Tobin Bridge, Newport Bridge or Gold Star Memorial Bridge or any of the bridges north of Buffalo.
Title: Re: What bridge closure would cause the most chaos/disruption?
Post by: webny99 on May 17, 2021, 12:23:47 PM
... any of the bridges north of Buffalo.

Buffalo, NY? The bridges to Canada are actually west/northwest of Buffalo.

It's not such a big deal with the border being closed right now, but back when it was open, any of the Lewiston/Peace/Rainbow crossings being closed would cause major problems at the other two. Even just one having longer-than-normal backups could cause problems at the other two, as was often the case on summer and holiday weekends.
Title: Re: What bridge closure would cause the most chaos/disruption?
Post by: Rothman on May 17, 2021, 07:04:05 PM
I just thought of the Delaware Memorial Bridge. It would cause a traffic nightmare in Philly, although it would be a bit better now that I-95 has been completed.

This actually has happened once - The DMB was closed for about 6 hours on the Sunday after Thanksgiving 2018 (aka one of the busiest travel days of the year) courtesy of a chemical leak from a plant adjacent to I-295 on the DE side. (https://www.google.com/maps/@39.6944181,-75.536807,3a,75y,235.39h,81.57t/data=!3m6!1e1!3m4!1siU9-BrbTFrimPn8i93coKA!2e0!7i16384!8i8192!5m1!1e1?hl=en)

From what I remember looking at Google Traffic during the closure, the Commodore Barry Bridge was at a standstill both directions and the NJTP began forcing SB traffic off as far back as exit 4.  (And FWIW, the complete I-95 would have been open 2 months at that point.)

Link to a WashPoint article about it: https://www.washingtonpost.com/local/delaware-bridge-shut-down-for-hours-sunday-in-traffic-nightmare/2018/11/26/42dde1ce-f149-11e8-aeea-b85fd44449f5_story.html

If both spans [of the Chesapeake Bay Bridge] closed it would be a disaster.

Also happened, this one just a few weeks ago - a police chase that went over the Bay Bridge and ultimately ended on Kent Island shut down both spans for several hours on a Saturday morning.  Would have been much worse if it happened on, say, a Friday or Sunday afternoon in July, but still caused several miles of completely stopped traffic on either side.

Article link: https://www.nbcwashington.com/news/local/transportation/backup-on-chesapeake-bay-bridge-after-closure/2665574/
I actually was on the NJTP when the bridge was closed, some years prior to 2018.  The only real warning was on the travel advisory radio.  They kept reporting increasing delays and I bolted for the Commodore Barry, but it hadn't backed up yet.
Title: Re: What bridge closure would cause the most chaos/disruption?
Post by: Roadgeekteen on May 17, 2021, 07:29:18 PM
Not a bridge, but the Channel Tunnel closing would cause some issues.
Title: Re: What bridge closure would cause the most chaos/disruption?
Post by: DeaconG on May 18, 2021, 09:47:28 AM
In Philly, losing either the Ben Franklin or Walt Whitman would cause major disruption. Losing them BOTH would be nearly catastrophic as neither the Betsy Ross, Tacony-Palmyra or Commodore Barry would be able to handle the overflow and it would inconvenience thousands. I wouldn't want to think of the chaos of losing either Benny or Walt or BOTH.

Here in Brevard County, losing the NASA Causeway or Hubert Humphrey Bridge would slow central Brevard down to a crawl (esp. the KSC 6AM crowd). Losing either the Melbourne or Eau Gallie Causeways would do the same for south Brevard.

Losing the Howard Frankland Bridge in Tampa would be brutal as well.
Title: Re: What bridge closure would cause the most chaos/disruption?
Post by: Bruce on May 19, 2021, 03:54:33 PM
The I-90 floating bridges in Seattle would be a magnitude worse than the West Seattle Bridge. While SR 520 exists as a (tolled) alternative, it would dump out all traffic onto I-5 through one of its worst spots and require a lot of backtracking.
Title: Re: What bridge closure would cause the most chaos/disruption?
Post by: KCRoadFan on May 19, 2021, 06:41:15 PM
The Tappan Zee. (Yes, I know the Taconic parallels the Thruway, but I wonder what trucks would do - they're not allowed on parkways.)
Title: Re: What bridge closure would cause the most chaos/disruption?
Post by: Roadgeekteen on May 19, 2021, 07:28:17 PM
The Tappan Zee. (Yes, I know the Taconic parallels the Thruway, but I wonder what trucks would do - they're not allowed on parkways.)
US 9?
Title: Re: What bridge closure would cause the most chaos/disruption?
Post by: JREwing78 on May 19, 2021, 08:08:03 PM
For a long detour, the Mackinac Bridge would be a contender.  Over twice as long as if the Chesapeake Bridge/Tunnel was closed.

Depending on the length of a Mackinac Bridge closure, there could quickly be ferry service reinstated across the Straits of Mackinac to restore a trickle of traffic. But certainly, anyone commuting from one side to the other on a regular basis would be deeply screwed. Folks in Sault Ste. Marie, St. Ignace, and the eastern U.P. would be severely affected. All are heavily reliant on tourism and recreation from the Lower Peninsula, and a missing Mackinac Bridge would mostly keep those folks in the Lower Peninsula instead.

Most folks west of the M-94 corridor would merely be inconvenienced. Take the example of a Michigan Tech student from Royal Oak (inner-ring Detroit suburb). Their drive home from Houghton without the Mackinac Bridge would be 700 miles and take (in good weather) 11 hours. With the bridge? 8 1/2 hours and 543 miles. What if said student lived in Grand Rapids? It's a 9 1/2 hour, 600 mile drive without the bridge, and a 8 hour, 15 minute, 500 mile drive with the bridge. That's not exactly a hardship. In fact, depending on what parts of Michigan and Wisconsin are snowing, the drive through Chicago might end up faster than taking the Mackinac Bridge.

Other than for tourism, the western U.P. isn't heavily reliant on the Mackinac Bridge for commerce. Most commercial vehicle traffic is traveling through Wisconsin or Minnesota to reach the western U.P. Folks wishing to travel for "big city" shopping are going to Green Bay, Milwaukee, Duluth, Minneapolis, or Chicago, all of which are far closer than Detroit or Grand Rapids. The tourists from Illinois, Wisconsin, and Minnesota won't be affected much if at all, and most of downstate Michigan would simply have a somewhat longer drive. The folks in the western U.P. might notice, but it won't decimate business like it would in the eastern U.P.

One particular job center that would be deeply affected: prisons. Newberry, Baraga, Marquette, and Kinross all have large state prison complexes. The Michigan Department of Corrections would be faced with the prospect of braving the ferries, flying prisoners, or transporting prisoners across state lines to fill the U.P. prisons. Losing prison jobs would hurt Marquette, but it would be brutal to the smaller towns
Title: Re: What bridge closure would cause the most chaos/disruption?
Post by: JREwing78 on May 19, 2021, 08:52:00 PM
One bridge closing that would be devastating (at least regionally): the Portage Lake Lift Bridge connecting Hancock and the northern Keweenaw Peninsula in Michigan's U.P. to the rest of the country.

Roughly 17,000 people reside north of the lift bridge. Two of the region's four hospitals are north of the bridge (with the next closest ones to Houghton 30 and 45 minutes away by ambulance), as well as two state parks, both ski areas, the vast majority of the Keweenaw National Historical Park, and one of the two ferries that serve Isle Royale National Park.

If the area north of the lift bridge was its own county, it would rank as the 5th most populous in the U.P., behind Marquette, Chippewa (Sault Ste. Marie), Dickinson (Escanaba), and the southern portion of Houghton County.

I would expect that the State of Michigan would quickly deploy a temporary replacement bridge in the event something disastrous happened to the Lift Bridge. But it would be seriously disruptive nonetheless.
Title: Re: What bridge closure would cause the most chaos/disruption?
Post by: bwana39 on May 19, 2021, 08:55:05 PM
The I-20 bridge over the Mississippi River. Sure they could reopen the old bridge in a week or less, but the detours to avoid that backup could take HOURS per vehicle.
Title: Re: What bridge closure would cause the most chaos/disruption?
Post by: MCRoads on May 20, 2021, 12:03:51 AM
The I-20 bridge over the Mississippi River. Sure they could reopen the old bridge in a week or less, but the detours to avoid that backup could take HOURS per vehicle.
They could probably open the bridge in much less time (2-3 days, no repaving, just striping the current road, and adding temporary traffic signals because 2 lanes of traffic arenít fitting on there) if needed, but the real problem would be the rail line. I canít imagine that road traffic and trains would be allowed to cross at the same time, and seeing as how the bridge is owned by the rail line, and the track seems to be used quite regularly, traffic would probably be stopped quite frequently. I imagine that for all intents and proposes, all traffic would be routed away from the bridge, and only local traffic would be allowed to use it.
Title: Re: What bridge closure would cause the most chaos/disruption?
Post by: Roadgeekteen on May 20, 2021, 12:06:12 AM
One bridge closing that would be devastating (at least regionally): the Portage Lake Lift Bridge connecting Hancock and the northern Keweenaw Peninsula in Michigan's U.P. to the rest of the country.

Roughly 17,000 people reside north of the lift bridge. Two of the region's four hospitals are north of the bridge (with the next closest ones to Houghton 30 and 45 minutes away by ambulance), as well as two state parks, both ski areas, the vast majority of the Keweenaw National Historical Park, and one of the two ferries that serve Isle Royale National Park.

If the area north of the lift bridge was its own county, it would rank as the 5th most populous in the U.P., behind Marquette, Chippewa (Sault Ste. Marie), Dickinson (Escanaba), and the southern portion of Houghton County.

I would expect that the State of Michigan would quickly deploy a temporary replacement bridge in the event something disastrous happened to the Lift Bridge. But it would be seriously disruptive nonetheless.
Dang, didn't realize that that's the only crossing to up there.
Title: Re: What bridge closure would cause the most chaos/disruption?
Post by: bwana39 on May 20, 2021, 12:42:26 PM
The I-20 bridge over the Mississippi River. Sure they could reopen the old bridge in a week or less, but the detours to avoid that backup could take HOURS per vehicle.
They could probably open the bridge in much less time (2-3 days, no repaving, just striping the current road, and adding temporary traffic signals because 2 lanes of traffic arenít fitting on there) if needed, but the real problem would be the rail line. I canít imagine that road traffic and trains would be allowed to cross at the same time, and seeing as how the bridge is owned by the rail line, and the track seems to be used quite regularly, traffic would probably be stopped quite frequently. I imagine that for all intents and proposes, all traffic would be routed away from the bridge, and only local traffic would be allowed to use it.

My first experience in 1976: age 15 with a learner permit I was driving. At Vicksburg, the Westbound side of the bridge was detoured to the old bridge. Traffic slowed but out on the bridge traffic was at or above the 55 MPH national speed limit. Up over Washington street I went. The truck behind me made a throaty downshift and was accelerating. I was scared someone was going to pass me on that narrow bridge. I survived. I have NEVER been so happy to see Delta LA in my life!

But as to today. There is a place on the Louisiana side where the road was dug up and pushed into a  berm to stop traffic.  That would have to be undone.  All in all, the pavement on the Louisiana side is a real mess. The old bridge actually was closed partly because the city and parish did not want to spend the money to maintain the approaching surface streets on the Louisiana side.  As to the trains; crossing the bridge with the trains might be almost moot as the traffic would need to cross the track to leave or get back to I-20 on the Louisiana side.

I do believe the old bridge could be reopened in 24 hours if the inspections for rail traffic suffice for truck and automobile traffic.  This said, I believe the rail traffic is limited to (I think) 25 MPH over the bridge as it is.
Title: Re: What bridge closure would cause the most chaos/disruption?
Post by: D-Dey65 on May 22, 2021, 12:39:34 AM
In Philly, losing either the Ben Franklin or Walt Whitman would cause major disruption. Losing them BOTH would be nearly catastrophic as neither the Betsy Ross, Tacony-Palmyra or Commodore Barry would be able to handle the overflow and it would inconvenience thousands. I wouldn't want to think of the chaos of losing either Benny or Walt or BOTH.
Worse than that, the Ben Franklin Bridge is also shared by PATCO Speedline, and none of the other bridges to and from Philly contain provisions for rapid transit lines.
Title: Re: What bridge closure would cause the most chaos/disruption?
Post by: DeaconG on May 22, 2021, 11:26:24 AM
In Philly, losing either the Ben Franklin or Walt Whitman would cause major disruption. Losing them BOTH would be nearly catastrophic as neither the Betsy Ross, Tacony-Palmyra or Commodore Barry would be able to handle the overflow and it would inconvenience thousands. I wouldn't want to think of the chaos of losing either Benny or Walt or BOTH.

Worse than that, the Ben Franklin Bridge is also shared by PATCO Speedline, and none of the other bridges to and from Philly contain provisions for rapid transit lines.

No duh, bruh. Somehow, I don't think SEPTA substituting buses is gonna work well.
Title: Re: What bridge closure would cause the most chaos/disruption?
Post by: MikieTimT on May 22, 2021, 11:58:48 AM
Right now, my vote would be the I-55 Memphis-Arkansas bridge.  That would essentially reroute enormous amounts of freight to I-155 in MO and add around 3.5 hours to transit the area, assuming traffic isn't bottlenecked and backs it up further.  Or even worse for traffic that would have to bypass south to Helena across a 2-lane crossing.
Title: Re: What bridge closure would cause the most chaos/disruption?
Post by: JREwing78 on May 22, 2021, 02:14:54 PM
Closing the Ambassador Bridge (connecting Detroit to Windsor) would have horrific economic consequences. Most of Canada's auto industry is reliant on the Ambassador, as is a good chunk of the American auto industry.

While there's a tunnel connecting Detroit and Windsor, no commercial truck traffic could use it. All heavy truck traffic would be forced to cross the Blue Water Bridge in Port Huron, at least until ferry service could be ramped up.

The Gordie Howe bridge will effectively replace the Ambassador Bridge, unless the Moroun family finally strikes a truce with the Canadians to replace the Ambassador with a new bridge, or stubbornly keeps repairing the existing one.

SM-G991U

Title: Re: What bridge closure would cause the most chaos/disruption?
Post by: D-Dey65 on May 22, 2021, 07:07:43 PM
In Philly, losing either the Ben Franklin or Walt Whitman would cause major disruption. Losing them BOTH would be nearly catastrophic as neither the Betsy Ross, Tacony-Palmyra or Commodore Barry would be able to handle the overflow and it would inconvenience thousands. I wouldn't want to think of the chaos of losing either Benny or Walt or BOTH.

Worse than that, the Ben Franklin Bridge is also shared by PATCO Speedline, and none of the other bridges to and from Philly contain provisions for rapid transit lines.

No duh, bruh. Somehow, I don't think SEPTA substituting buses is gonna work well.
I don't even think SEPTA and NJT coordinating buses as substitutes would work either.
Title: Re: What bridge closure would cause the most chaos/disruption?
Post by: Bruce on May 23, 2021, 06:26:57 PM
Closing the Ambassador Bridge (connecting Detroit to Windsor) would have horrific economic consequences. Most of Canada's auto industry is reliant on the Ambassador, as is a good chunk of the American auto industry.

While there's a tunnel connecting Detroit and Windsor, no commercial truck traffic could use it. All heavy truck traffic would be forced to cross the Blue Water Bridge in Port Huron, at least until ferry service could be ramped up.

The Gordie Howe bridge will effectively replace the Ambassador Bridge, unless the Moroun family finally strikes a truce with the Canadians to replace the Ambassador with a new bridge, or stubbornly keeps repairing the existing one.

SM-G991U



Apparently 27 percent of all US-Canadian trade (https://ops.fhwa.dot.gov/freight/freight_analysis/ambass_brdg/ambass_brdge_ovrvw.htm) is dependent on the Ambassador Bridge.
Title: Re: What bridge closure would cause the most chaos/disruption?
Post by: fmendes on May 24, 2021, 09:52:13 AM
It would probably be either the Verrazano Bridge or the George Washington Bridge because it would cause people to detour through manhattan creating a cluster F**k
Title: Re: What bridge closure would cause the most chaos/disruption?
Post by: catch22 on May 28, 2021, 07:36:08 AM
One bridge closing that would be devastating (at least regionally): the Portage Lake Lift Bridge connecting Hancock and the northern Keweenaw Peninsula in Michigan's U.P. to the rest of the country.

Roughly 17,000 people reside north of the lift bridge. Two of the region's four hospitals are north of the bridge (with the next closest ones to Houghton 30 and 45 minutes away by ambulance), as well as two state parks, both ski areas, the vast majority of the Keweenaw National Historical Park, and one of the two ferries that serve Isle Royale National Park.

If the area north of the lift bridge was its own county, it would rank as the 5th most populous in the U.P., behind Marquette, Chippewa (Sault Ste. Marie), Dickinson (Escanaba), and the southern portion of Houghton County.

I would expect that the State of Michigan would quickly deploy a temporary replacement bridge in the event something disastrous happened to the Lift Bridge. But it would be seriously disruptive nonetheless.

I attended MTU back in the early '70s.  One fine spring day, a friend of mine and I decided to go over to the A&W drive-in in Ripley for a root beer and a couple of hot dogs.  As we were sitting in our car eating dinner, we noticed that SB traffic on M-26 had come to a standstill.  Turns out they were having a problem with the lift bridge. After about 30 minutes, we walked the short distance over to the bridge to see what was going on.  They had raised the bridge for ship traffic, and when they lowered it, the deck was out of alignment (north end a few inches higher than the south end) and it took about 2 hours of raising, lowering and staring at it to fix it.  My friend said during this process, "We're really in a pickle if they can't fix it." 
Title: Re: What bridge closure would cause the most chaos/disruption?
Post by: Roadgeekteen on May 28, 2021, 12:23:44 PM
It would probably be either the Verrazano Bridge or the George Washington Bridge because it would cause people to detour through manhattan creating a cluster F**k
For the GWB, the best detour would be the Palisades Parkway to I-287.
Title: Re: What bridge closure would cause the most chaos/disruption?
Post by: bwana39 on June 01, 2021, 11:24:55 AM
Right now, my vote would be the I-55 Memphis-Arkansas bridge.  That would essentially reroute enormous amounts of freight to I-155 in MO and add around 3.5 hours to transit the area, assuming traffic isn't bottlenecked and backs it up further.  Or even worse for traffic that would have to bypass south to Helena across a 2-lane crossing.

If that happened right now, you are entirely right. With both bridges in Memphis closed. It would be sheer chaos. The Helena bridge would not be up to that task. Forget its  traffic capacity, the weight strain would be a killer.

Yes, no bridge at Memphis would be worse than using only the old bridge at Vicksburg.
Title: Re: What bridge closure would cause the most chaos/disruption?
Post by: Roadgeekteen on June 01, 2021, 12:45:55 PM
Right now, my vote would be the I-55 Memphis-Arkansas bridge.  That would essentially reroute enormous amounts of freight to I-155 in MO and add around 3.5 hours to transit the area, assuming traffic isn't bottlenecked and backs it up further.  Or even worse for traffic that would have to bypass south to Helena across a 2-lane crossing.

If that happened right now, you are entirely right. With both bridges in Memphis closed. It would be sheer chaos. The Helena bridge would not be up to that task. Forget its  traffic capacity, the weight strain would be a killer.

Yes, no bridge at Memphis would be worse than using only the old bridge at Vicksburg.
At that point hastily put a car/truck ferry in place and hope for the best.
Title: Re: What bridge closure would cause the most chaos/disruption?
Post by: mrsman on June 13, 2021, 07:28:30 PM
For any bridge in Missouri, it would be the I-70 Rocheport Bridge, aka the "Lynchpin of America".  Within 48 hours, cargo destined to all 48 contiguous states travel this bridge, while also being an important link between the 1st, 2nd, and 4th largest cities in the state, which I suppose is why replacing it is so important..

Alternative routes exist, though. Traffic could use US 54 to cross the Missouri at Jeff City, from there taking US 50 to US 65 back up to I-70.

I am not seeing how this bridge is as important as you state.  Certainly I-70 is an important national corridor and certainly a closure of any interstate bridge would be bothersome.  But given that this is a rural area that doesn't have too heavy of a load, there are definitely ways around this, if given enough notice.

Locally, one can detour via Jeff City, as you suggest.

Nationally, depending upon one's destinations, there are other long distance interstates taht one can use.  Cross-country trips, or even those that go about 1/2 way cross country, could probably bypass this portion of I-70 by using I-76, I-80, and I-74 between Denver and Indy, and that's for traffic stayin on I-70.  More likely than not, some cross-country traffic would not ordinarily be even on the same "latitude".  So while traffic from Seattle to Atlanta may normally utilize this section of I-70, if needed, the traffic could drop down to I-40 instead in this part of the country.
Title: Re: What bridge closure would cause the most chaos/disruption?
Post by: TheGrassGuy on June 14, 2021, 08:12:58 AM
Closing the Ambassador Bridge (connecting Detroit to Windsor) would have horrific economic consequences. Most of Canada's auto industry is reliant on the Ambassador, as is a good chunk of the American auto industry.

While there's a tunnel connecting Detroit and Windsor, no commercial truck traffic could use it. All heavy truck traffic would be forced to cross the Blue Water Bridge in Port Huron, at least until ferry service could be ramped up.

The Gordie Howe bridge will effectively replace the Ambassador Bridge, unless the Moroun family finally strikes a truce with the Canadians to replace the Ambassador with a new bridge, or stubbornly keeps repairing the existing one.

SM-G991U

Isn't that bridge already closed due to COVID?
Title: Re: What bridge closure would cause the most chaos/disruption?
Post by: GaryV on June 14, 2021, 08:36:00 AM
Closing the Ambassador Bridge (connecting Detroit to Windsor) would have horrific economic consequences. Most of Canada's auto industry is reliant on the Ambassador, as is a good chunk of the American auto industry.

While there's a tunnel connecting Detroit and Windsor, no commercial truck traffic could use it. All heavy truck traffic would be forced to cross the Blue Water Bridge in Port Huron, at least until ferry service could be ramped up.

The Gordie Howe bridge will effectively replace the Ambassador Bridge, unless the Moroun family finally strikes a truce with the Canadians to replace the Ambassador with a new bridge, or stubbornly keeps repairing the existing one.

SM-G991U

Isn't that bridge already closed due to COVID?

Not hardly.  While the border is closed to non-essential traffic, all the freight is essential.

At that point hastily put a car/truck ferry in place and hope for the best.

Where are you going to find one?

It would probably be quicker for the Army Corp of Engineers to build a temporary pontoon bridge (with a removable section that would open in the middle of the night for barge traffic).
Title: Re: What bridge closure would cause the most chaos/disruption?
Post by: JMoses24 on June 14, 2021, 11:48:58 AM
It would probably be either the Verrazano Bridge or the George Washington Bridge because it would cause people to detour through manhattan creating a cluster F**k
For the GWB, the best detour would be the Palisades Parkway to I-287.

Except for the trucks that could not use the Palisades Parkway. That traffic would be forced to use I-287 all the way around to the Tappan Zee.

Heck, one only needs to go back to 9/11 to see the chaos created when every bridge between New York and New Jersey in the NYC metro area except the Tappan Zee was closed. That, my friend, is a sh*t fight.
Title: Re: What bridge closure would cause the most chaos/disruption?
Post by: hobsini2 on June 16, 2021, 02:14:09 PM
For Wisconsin, I think the I-94 St Croix Bridge would be a contender.  Thank God for the new Stillwater Bridge.
Title: Re: What bridge closure would cause the most chaos/disruption?
Post by: cabiness42 on June 16, 2021, 02:25:42 PM
Chicago doesn't have one bridge that would cripple things the way New York and the Bay area would, but the Dan Ryan bridge over the Chicago River just north of the Stevenson interchange would probably be the worst one to lose. The Mile Long Bridge on the Tri-State and the Chicago River bridge on LSD would be up there as well.
Title: Re: What bridge closure would cause the most chaos/disruption?
Post by: Revive 755 on June 16, 2021, 10:56:18 PM
Chicago doesn't have one bridge that would cripple things the way New York and the Bay area would, but the Dan Ryan bridge over the Chicago River just north of the Stevenson interchange would probably be the worst one to lose. The Mile Long Bridge on the Tri-State and the Chicago River bridge on LSD would be up there as well.

Depending where the failed part is, the Dan Ryan over the Chicago River could be detoured using the Chinatown Feeder, I-55, Lake Shore Drive, and a few streets in the loop (thinking parts of Roosevelt could be temporarily reconfigured to handle some of the detour traffic). 

The Mile Long Bridge on the Tri-State would be a little harder.  Depending upon where the exact point of failure is, southbound could get a painful detour using I-55 and US 12-20-45. Northbound would have issues due to the last exit being back at 95th Street.
Title: Re: What bridge closure would cause the most chaos/disruption?
Post by: kkt on June 19, 2021, 02:55:48 PM
One bridge closing that would be devastating (at least regionally): the Portage Lake Lift Bridge connecting Hancock and the northern Keweenaw Peninsula in Michigan's U.P. to the rest of the country.

Roughly 17,000 people reside north of the lift bridge. Two of the region's four hospitals are north of the bridge (with the next closest ones to Houghton 30 and 45 minutes away by ambulance), as well as two state parks, both ski areas, the vast majority of the Keweenaw National Historical Park, and one of the two ferries that serve Isle Royale National Park.

If the area north of the lift bridge was its own county, it would rank as the 5th most populous in the U.P., behind Marquette, Chippewa (Sault Ste. Marie), Dickinson (Escanaba), and the southern portion of Houghton County.

I would expect that the State of Michigan would quickly deploy a temporary replacement bridge in the event something disastrous happened to the Lift Bridge. But it would be seriously disruptive nonetheless.

I attended MTU back in the early '70s.  One fine spring day, a friend of mine and I decided to go over to the A&W drive-in in Ripley for a root beer and a couple of hot dogs.  As we were sitting in our car eating dinner, we noticed that SB traffic on M-26 had come to a standstill.  Turns out they were having a problem with the lift bridge. After about 30 minutes, we walked the short distance over to the bridge to see what was going on.  They had raised the bridge for ship traffic, and when they lowered it, the deck was out of alignment (north end a few inches higher than the south end) and it took about 2 hours of raising, lowering and staring at it to fix it.  My friend said during this process, "We're really in a pickle if they can't fix it." 

Find someplace to leave the car and swim?
Title: Re: What bridge closure would cause the most chaos/disruption?
Post by: JREwing78 on July 18, 2021, 06:34:06 PM
My friend said during this process, "We're really in a pickle if they can't fix it." 

Find someplace to leave the car and swim?

Depending on the time of year, you could probably just walk across the ice. But they generally don't move the bridge in winter.

But as cold as Lake Superior (and by extension the Portage Canal) gets, you're seriously risking hypothermia if you attempt that swim.
Title: Re: What bridge closure would cause the most chaos/disruption?
Post by: JREwing78 on July 18, 2021, 06:36:08 PM
Speaking of disruptive bridge closures, the Mackinac Bridge was closed for 3 hours today due to a bomb threat. Glad we didn't get to find out what an extended Mackinac Bridge closure would look like.

https://abcnews.go.com/US/wireStory/police-bomb-threat-closed-mackinac-bridge-hours-78916569
Title: Re: What bridge closure would cause the most chaos/disruption?
Post by: CNGL-Leudimin on July 19, 2021, 06:09:56 AM
The Bidasoa river bridge at the Spain/France border on AP-8/A63. That being one of the two main border crossings between the two countries, chaos is absolutely guaranteed to happen if it was to shut down.
Title: Re: What bridge closure would cause the most chaos/disruption?
Post by: kkt on August 09, 2021, 02:06:46 PM
Tower Bridge in London is stuck open.  Traffic is backed up very badly on both sides of the Thames.
Title: Re: What bridge closure would cause the most chaos/disruption?
Post by: Rothman on August 09, 2021, 03:40:53 PM
Tower Bridge in London is stuck open.  Traffic is backed up very badly on both sides of the Thames.
So...it's not falling down?
Title: Re: What bridge closure would cause the most chaos/disruption?
Post by: Bruce on August 09, 2021, 08:45:21 PM
Tower Bridge in London is stuck open.  Traffic is backed up very badly on both sides of the Thames.


Coincidentally, Tom Scott just made a bridge explaining what goes into opening the bridge.

Title: Re: What bridge closure would cause the most chaos/disruption?
Post by: kkt on August 09, 2021, 09:12:10 PM
Tower Bridge in London is stuck open.  Traffic is backed up very badly on both sides of the Thames.
So...it's not falling down?

London Bridge and Tower Bridge are two different bridges.  Just ask Arizona.
Title: Re: What bridge closure would cause the most chaos/disruption?
Post by: Rothman on August 10, 2021, 12:01:32 AM
Tower Bridge in London is stuck open.  Traffic is backed up very badly on both sides of the Thames.
So...it's not falling down?

London Bridge and Tower Bridge are two different bridges.  Just ask Arizona.
But...it's not falling down.
Title: Re: What bridge closure would cause the most chaos/disruption?
Post by: TheHighwayMan394 on August 10, 2021, 03:20:41 AM
The Twin Cities have enough redundancies built in that even when this did happen for real, it was a fairly well-managed situation given the circumstances.

I'm going to go with I-694 across the Mississippi River in Brooklyn Center, because the alternatives are not only not particularly accessible in this case (MN 252 to MN 610/US 10 to 35W, or I-94 through downtown Minneapolis to I-35W), but there are two critical highway junctions on I-694 adjacent to this bridge (I-94/MN 252 and MN 100) that would be severely impacted.

Losing I-494 across the Minnesota River would create chaotic airport access issues for the east metro.

I-94 at Hudson would more regionally be a disaster. While the new bridge on MN 36 could help with crossing the river itself better than what was there before, getting to/from 94 on the Wisconsin side would be miserable. WIS 35 through Hudson couldn't handle it. WIS 65 and US 63 between 94 and WIS 64 are rural two-lane roads. Long-distance traffic heading deep into Wisconsin would almost be forced to be detoured US 52 to I-90.
Title: Re: What bridge closure would cause the most chaos/disruption?
Post by: kphoger on August 10, 2021, 10:11:20 AM


Tower Bridge in London is stuck open.  Traffic is backed up very badly on both sides of the Thames.

So...it's not falling down?

London Bridge and Tower Bridge are two different bridges.  Just ask Arizona.

He meant London bridge, not London Bridge.  Subtle difference.
Title: Re: What bridge closure would cause the most chaos/disruption?
Post by: Flint1979 on August 10, 2021, 01:06:33 PM
My friend said during this process, "We're really in a pickle if they can't fix it." 

Find someplace to leave the car and swim?

Depending on the time of year, you could probably just walk across the ice. But they generally don't move the bridge in winter.

But as cold as Lake Superior (and by extension the Portage Canal) gets, you're seriously risking hypothermia if you attempt that swim.
I went out for a boat ride in the Pictured Rocks area yesterday and watched a guy do a flip right into Lake Superior and saw two people standing up on a cliff about 80 feet above the water and I shouted out JUMP to them lol, they didn't thank god. But watching someone jump into that water I was thinking damn that's cold then I looked and the water was 68 degrees. I'd hate to be on that sandbar by Sand Point where the water is 4-5 feet deep for about a half mile out into the lake then takes a drop to 65 feet deep within a few feet.
Title: Re: What bridge closure would cause the most chaos/disruption?
Post by: kphoger on August 10, 2021, 01:30:08 PM
Our former pastor used to live in Houghton, and they did baptisms in Lake Superior.

For what it's worth, the water temperature in Los Angeles today is about one degree colder than in Sault Ste Marie.
Title: Re: What bridge closure would cause the most chaos/disruption?
Post by: TheHighwayMan394 on August 10, 2021, 05:06:59 PM
Our former pastor used to live in Houghton, and they did baptisms in Lake Superior.

Speaking of Houghton, the scope of this thread warrants a mention of US 41/M-26 across Portage Lake, since there are no other road crossings and it would cut the northern half of the Keweenaw Peninsula off from all land access.
Title: Re: What bridge closure would cause the most chaos/disruption?
Post by: cabiness42 on August 10, 2021, 05:17:41 PM
Our former pastor used to live in Houghton, and they did baptisms in Lake Superior.

Speaking of Houghton, the scope of this thread warrants a mention of US 41/M-26 across Portage Lake, since there are no other road crossings and it would cut the northern half of the Keweenaw Peninsula off from all land access.

Wow, I think I'd be hesitant to live on the other side of that bridge. I'm guessing there's no hospital on the north side.
Title: Re: What bridge closure would cause the most chaos/disruption?
Post by: JREwing78 on August 10, 2021, 05:36:42 PM
Our former pastor used to live in Houghton, and they did baptisms in Lake Superior.

Speaking of Houghton, the scope of this thread warrants a mention of US 41/M-26 across Portage Lake, since there are no other road crossings and it would cut the northern half of the Keweenaw Peninsula off from all land access.

Wow, I think I'd be hesitant to live on the other side of that bridge. I'm guessing there's no hospital on the north side.
Both local hospitals are north of the bridge. Next closest is in Baraga.

SM-G991U

Title: Re: What bridge closure would cause the most chaos/disruption?
Post by: GaryV on August 10, 2021, 06:29:05 PM
The hospital is on the north side of the Portage, in Hancock.

The airport, too.

Title: Re: What bridge closure would cause the most chaos/disruption?
Post by: TheOneKEA on August 15, 2021, 08:09:37 PM
Several posters have already mentioned the Woodrow Wilson Bridge, the Millard Tydings Bridge and the Chesapeake Bay Bridge in Maryland. I would also add the following bridges to the list for consideration:

- US 340 across the Potomac River
- US 15 across the Potomac River
- American Legion Bridge
- US 29 across the Rocky Gorge Reservoir
- US 50 across the Nanticoke River
- US 50 across Sinepuxent Bay
- MD 213 across the C&D Canal
Title: Re: What bridge closure would cause the most chaos/disruption?
Post by: Dirt Roads on August 15, 2021, 09:38:27 PM
- US 340 across the Potomac River
- US 15 across the Potomac River

Not as bad as one might think.  There is the Brunswick Bridge connecting VA-287 and MD-17 at Brunswick, Maryland.  However, you do need to take SR-671 all the way down to VA-9 west of Hillsboro to get around the US-340 bridge.  As tempted as you might be to go all the way to Wheatland and pick up VA-287, take Mountain Road north on the other side of Hillsboro as it is one of the most scenic roads in the entire state.  For a US-15 detour, Lovettsville Road is a bit winding but not that far out of the way.
Title: Re: What bridge closure would cause the most chaos/disruption?
Post by: sparker on August 16, 2021, 08:14:57 AM
All I can say is it's fortunate both Interstate crossings of the Carquinez Strait (I-80, I-680) feature twin spans; if one is out of service, removing some K-rail above/below the point where the directions rejoin would allow the use of one of the spans for bidirectional traffic.  Since those effectively carry most of the commercial traffic heading to Sacramento or the PNW, not to mention farther east via I-80, loss of even one span out of four would cause congestion and backup all the way to San Jose on the south and Sacramento to the northeast.  A San Rafael Bridge/CA 37 detour would clog up quickly; the long haul over 580 and the Altamont Pass via Stockton just isn't feasible for any extended time. 
Title: Re: What bridge closure would cause the most chaos/disruption?
Post by: fillup420 on August 19, 2021, 08:31:21 PM
closure of the I-95 bridge over Lake Marion in SC would be a headache to navigate around. The closest crossing to the north is US 378, 32 miles straight-line. To the south is US 52, 27 miles straight-line. Both detours require long deviations from 95.
Title: Re: What bridge closure would cause the most chaos/disruption?
Post by: Daniel Fiddler on August 19, 2021, 09:17:01 PM
I'm surprised no one has mentioned this one.  The Sunshine Skyway would require a detour for St. Petersburg to / from southwest Florida requiring an extra 30+ miles.
Title: Re: What bridge closure would cause the most chaos/disruption?
Post by: kkt on August 20, 2021, 12:45:18 AM
All I can say is it's fortunate both Interstate crossings of the Carquinez Strait (I-80, I-680) feature twin spans; if one is out of service, removing some K-rail above/below the point where the directions rejoin would allow the use of one of the spans for bidirectional traffic.  Since those effectively carry most of the commercial traffic heading to Sacramento or the PNW, not to mention farther east via I-80, loss of even one span out of four would cause congestion and backup all the way to San Jose on the south and Sacramento to the northeast.  A San Rafael Bridge/CA 37 detour would clog up quickly; the long haul over 580 and the Altamont Pass via Stockton just isn't feasible for any extended time. 

Yes, Caltrans did the right thing by making them twin bridges.  The other alternative would be north on 101 to Petaluma and then 116 and 12 to I-80 at Cordelia.  It's kind of a long way around too, and with a lot of 2-lane roads that would get crowded quickly if there was an extended closure.

Title: Re: What bridge closure would cause the most chaos/disruption?
Post by: sparker on August 20, 2021, 05:30:43 PM
All I can say is it's fortunate both Interstate crossings of the Carquinez Strait (I-80, I-680) feature twin spans; if one is out of service, removing some K-rail above/below the point where the directions rejoin would allow the use of one of the spans for bidirectional traffic.  Since those effectively carry most of the commercial traffic heading to Sacramento or the PNW, not to mention farther east via I-80, loss of even one span out of four would cause congestion and backup all the way to San Jose on the south and Sacramento to the northeast.  A San Rafael Bridge/CA 37 detour would clog up quickly; the long haul over 580 and the Altamont Pass via Stockton just isn't feasible for any extended time. 

Yes, Caltrans did the right thing by making them twin bridges.  The other alternative would be north on 101 to Petaluma and then 116 and 12 to I-80 at Cordelia.  It's kind of a long way around too, and with a lot of 2-lane roads that would get crowded quickly if there was an extended closure.



I lived in Napa circa 1990-91; frequent incidents on CA 37 would result in drivers, particulary during commute times, to detour onto 121 from Sears Point to Napa and then segue onto CA 12 (and the inverse WB), most of which was 2-lane at the time (and much of which still is!).  All I can say about that congestion was "holy shit!".  Shoehorning 2 lanes of traffic from 37 to 121 was bad enough, but drivers trying to enter from 12 and 116 south of Sonoma would sit for 15-20 minutes before encountering a break.  It's really not a viable alternative under simply local circumstances; a bridge breakdown would be catastrophic if a span (or two) would be out of service.   
Title: Re: What bridge closure would cause the most chaos/disruption?
Post by: allniter89 on August 21, 2021, 12:16:11 AM
Our former pastor used to live in Houghton, and they did baptisms in Lake Superior.

For what it's worth, the water temperature in Los Angeles today is about one degree colder than in Sault Ste Marie.
Meanwhile the Gulf of Mexico water temp at Pensacola, FL is 87į.
I'm not a beach person but it doesnt seem possible that 87į water & 94į +air temp 106įheat index would be coooling.
Title: Re: What bridge closure would cause the most chaos/disruption?
Post by: kphoger on August 23, 2021, 01:20:08 PM

I'm not a beach person but it doesnt seem possible that 87į water & 94į +air temp 106įheat index would be coooling.

I'm sure some evaporation still takes place when you get out of the water.
Title: Re: What bridge closure would cause the most chaos/disruption?
Post by: Hobart on August 23, 2021, 08:42:10 PM
I'm gonna throw my hat in the ring here.
I have to say the Interstate 80 bridge over the Des Plaines River in Joliet would cause a lot of chaos if it were to fall into the river right now.

Many trucks use the bridge to get to an inland port in nearby Elwood, and a lot of people use that stretch of I-80 to either get to work, or to get across the country. Truck traffic is heavy, and the stretch of highway near the bridge is a choke point for three crowded lanes of traffic in just east of there.

Most alternative routes would either run people down Interstate 355, a toll highway, a bunch of two-lane roads south of Joliet not built for heavy volumes of traffic, or run people through a bunch of suburbs. If people were too cheap to pay tolls but didn't want to leave the interstate, they would need to take Interstate 55 all the way to Chicago's loop, and take Interstate 94 back out of it. Any one of these options would cause even more chaos than the bridge does now.
Title: Re: What bridge closure would cause the most chaos/disruption?
Post by: kphoger on August 24, 2021, 12:03:39 PM
If people were too cheap to pay tolls ...

Or simply don't have a toll pass on the windshield.
Title: Re: What bridge closure would cause the most chaos/disruption?
Post by: Flint1979 on August 25, 2021, 04:47:18 PM
I think the Bill Buckner Bridge in Boston (actually named the Zakim Bridge but called the Bill Buckner because you go through the legs of the bridge just like the ball went through Buckner's legs in 1986) fits this bill.
Title: Re: What bridge closure would cause the most chaos/disruption?
Post by: kkt on August 25, 2021, 06:28:57 PM
I think the Bill Buckner Bridge in Boston (actually named the Zakim Bridge but called the Bill Buckner because you go through the legs of the bridge just like the ball went through Buckner's legs in 1986) fits this bill.

Great naming story for the bridge :)
Title: Re: What bridge closure would cause the most chaos/disruption?
Post by: Flint1979 on August 25, 2021, 07:45:54 PM
I think the Bill Buckner Bridge in Boston (actually named the Zakim Bridge but called the Bill Buckner because you go through the legs of the bridge just like the ball went through Buckner's legs in 1986) fits this bill.

Great naming story for the bridge :)
I thought it was quite amusing. Imagine Buckner's legs right here https://www.google.com/maps/@42.3683432,-71.0629828,3a,75y,124.24h,89.61t/data=!3m7!1e1!3m5!1sqLXsasWq3wzRnVSzcbAsFw!2e0!6shttps:%2F%2Fstreetviewpixels-pa.googleapis.com%2Fv1%2Fthumbnail%3Fpanoid%3DqLXsasWq3wzRnVSzcbAsFw%26cb_client%3Dmaps_sv.tactile.gps%26w%3D203%26h%3D100%26yaw%3D39.45758%26pitch%3D0%26thumbfov%3D100!7i16384!8i8192
Title: Re: What bridge closure would cause the most chaos/disruption?
Post by: US20IL64 on September 11, 2021, 03:00:58 AM
If people were too cheap to pay tolls ...

Or simply don't have a toll pass on the windshield.

Can pay online, and if not tech savvy, call a kid,