Gasket blamed for gas leak that disrupted bridge traffic

Southbound traffic on the New Jersey Turnpike is backed up before Exit 2 as drivers had to exit there because the Delaware Memorial Bridge was closed in both directions, Sunday night, Nov. 25, 2018, near Swedesboro, N.J. A chemical leak shut down the bridge, bringing traffic on a major East Coast artery to a standstill on one of the busiest travel days of the year. (Elizabeth Robertson/The Philadelphia Inquirer via AP)

DOVER, Del. (AP) — A preliminary investigation has found that a gasket failure caused a chemical gas leak that forced the temporary closure of a heavily used bridge connecting Delaware and New Jersey on one of the busiest travel days of the year.

Officials with Croda Inc. said Tuesday that initial findings show that an incorrect gasket fitted on a pipe during construction of its Delaware ethylene oxide production plant failed Sunday.

The company is sending the gasket to independent experts for analysis and confirmation. Production of ethylene oxide, which is highly flammable, has been suspended while other equipment is inspected over the next two weeks.

The leak forced the precautionary closure of the Delaware Memorial Bridge for several hours as the Thanksgiving holiday weekend wound down. The bridge which carries traffic on Interstate 295.

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