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Author Topic: What bridge closure would cause the most chaos/disruption?  (Read 9644 times)

Roadgeekteen

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Re: What bridge closure would cause the most chaos/disruption?
« Reply #50 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.

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?
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Re: What bridge closure would cause the most chaos/disruption?
« Reply #51 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.

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Re: What bridge closure would cause the most chaos/disruption?
« Reply #52 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.
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MinecraftNinja

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Re: What bridge closure would cause the most chaos/disruption?
« Reply #53 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.
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webny99

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Re: What bridge closure would cause the most chaos/disruption?
« Reply #54 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.

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Re: What bridge closure would cause the most chaos/disruption?
« Reply #55 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.

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.
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Roadgeekteen

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Re: What bridge closure would cause the most chaos/disruption?
« Reply #56 on: May 17, 2021, 07:29:18 PM »

Not a bridge, but the Channel Tunnel closing would cause some issues.
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DeaconG

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Re: What bridge closure would cause the most chaos/disruption?
« Reply #57 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.
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Re: What bridge closure would cause the most chaos/disruption?
« Reply #58 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.

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Re: What bridge closure would cause the most chaos/disruption?
« Reply #59 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.)
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Roadgeekteen

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Re: What bridge closure would cause the most chaos/disruption?
« Reply #60 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?
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JREwing78

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Re: What bridge closure would cause the most chaos/disruption?
« Reply #61 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
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Re: What bridge closure would cause the most chaos/disruption?
« Reply #62 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.
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Re: What bridge closure would cause the most chaos/disruption?
« Reply #63 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.
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Re: What bridge closure would cause the most chaos/disruption?
« Reply #64 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.
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Roadgeekteen

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Re: What bridge closure would cause the most chaos/disruption?
« Reply #65 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.
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bwana39

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Re: What bridge closure would cause the most chaos/disruption?
« Reply #66 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.
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Re: What bridge closure would cause the most chaos/disruption?
« Reply #67 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.
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DeaconG

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Re: What bridge closure would cause the most chaos/disruption?
« Reply #68 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.
« Last Edit: May 22, 2021, 11:29:19 AM by DeaconG »
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Re: What bridge closure would cause the most chaos/disruption?
« Reply #69 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.
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JREwing78

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Re: What bridge closure would cause the most chaos/disruption?
« Reply #70 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.

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Re: What bridge closure would cause the most chaos/disruption?
« Reply #71 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.
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Re: What bridge closure would cause the most chaos/disruption?
« Reply #72 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 is dependent on the Ambassador Bridge.

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Re: What bridge closure would cause the most chaos/disruption?
« Reply #73 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
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Re: What bridge closure would cause the most chaos/disruption?
« Reply #74 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." 
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