I-676 in Philadelphia to be closed until at least Thursday afternoon after barge hits bridge

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- Interstate 676 in Philadelphia is shut down after a barge broke loose on the flooded Schuylkill River during Tropical Storm Isaias on Tuesday.

The barge broke loose around 5 p.m. and hit the Vine Street Expressway bridge over the river.

Bridge inspectors were on the scene to look for any damage.

During a press conference on Wednesday afternoon, a PennDOT Representative said there was some good news: only minor structural issues were discovered, and there was no damage that would compromise the structural integrity of the bridge.

PennDOT earlier said it was possible part of 676 could reopen Wednesday, but later said all lanes will remain closed until at least Thursday afternoon.

That's when the river level is expected to recede to the point the barge can be moved.

The barge was being used by the Army Corps of Engineers to dredge portions of the Schuylkill River above the Fairmount Dam.

In the meantime, PennDOT recommends drivers use the following detours:

-Motorists heading to New Jersey: Take I-76 East to the Walt Whitman Bridge;

-I-76 motorists heading to Center City: Exit at the Spring Garden Street or South Street interchanges;

-I-95 South motorists: Travel to Exit 19 and follow Front Street to Pattison Avenue to Broad Street to the I-76 West entrance ramp; and

-I-95 North traffic: Follow I-95 North to I-76 West.
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