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Gear Failure Blamed for Metro-North Commuter Delay

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NORWALK, Conn. (AP) _ The Connecticut Department of Transportation blamed a gear failure for a stuck railroad bridge that snarled travel on Thursday morning for thousands of Metro-North commuters.

The railroad ran shuttle bus service between East Norwalk and South Norwalk as crews worked to close the Walk Bridge, which rotates open to allow boats to pass through on the Norwalk River. The failure occurred during testing at about 3:30 a.m., officials said. As a result, the railroad could not close the more than 100-year-old bridge.

Delays of more than an hour were reported during the morning rush. The repairs were completed just before 9 a.m.

“Sometimes these things take an hour and a half to fix, sometimes they take hours,” said Meredith Daniels, a spokeswoman for the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, which operates Metro-North.

The problem also affected Amtrak and Shoreline East trains.

The state applied for $349 million in federal transportation funding in April to help replace the bridge, which was built in 1896. The request was part of a $600 million grant request to improve Connecticut’s aging rail infrastructure.

State Sen. Toni Boucher, the ranking Republican on the legislature’s Transportation Committee, criticized Metro-North for reacting to problems “rather than proactively assessing infrastructure needs on a regular basis.”

(© Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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