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Stuck Bridge Causes Major Rail Delays On Metro-North’s New Haven Line

A train car on Metro North's New Haven Line (Credit MTA/Metro North)

A train car on Metro North’s New Haven Line (Credit MTA/Metro North)

NORWALK, Conn. (CBSNewYork/AP) – Service has been restored on the Metro-North’s New Haven line, five hours after a swing bridge over the Norwalk River became stuck in the open position, causing major delays for morning commuters on Thursday.

Metro-North says repairs were completed to the Walk Bridge just before 9 a.m. The 118-year-old bridge, which rotates to allow large boats on the river to pass, failed to close just after 4 a.m.

The railroad was force to suspend eastbound service from Stamford, while only limited westbound trains were available from South Norwalk, MTA spokeswoman Meredith Daniels said.

“Sometimes these things take an hour and a half to fix, sometimes they take hours,” she said.

The problem also caused delays on Amtrak, which uses the Metro-North tracks. The railroad ran limited shuttle bus service between East Norwalk and South Norwalk, while crews worked to close the bridge.

Many commuters were forced to change their travel plans for the morning rush.

“They announced there would be trains eventually taking us to East Norwalk and then a bus from East Norwalk to here,” one commuter at the South Norwalk station told WCBS 880’s Fran Schneidau.

The bridge has been the source of past problems for the railroad. The state is seeking $349 million in federal transportation funds to help replace it.

The incident prompted a state lawmaker to renew his call for electronic tolls at Connecticut’s borders to fund improvements to the state’s infrastructure.

“Eighty percent of the people that use our infrastructure are people from out of state, not people from Connectictu, so we’re flipping the tab here and they’re ruining our roads,” State Representative Tony Guerrera told Schneidau.

He said the feds have dropped their opposition to the plan, but Guerrera notes opposition persists from people who live in towns near the state’s borders, but he says they should be entitled to big tax rebates.

Guerrera believes this could be a win-win situation for Connecticut, which has been hard-pressed to find a way to fix roads and bridges.

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