By Paul Kurtz

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Frigid temperatures are turning the Delaware River and other area waterways into huge sheets of ice.

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The ice is 6-8 inches thick along some parts of the Delaware, and that has prompted the US Coast Guard to take action.

“In pack-ice areas we have two ice-breaking tugs,” says Coast Guard spokesman Lt. Nicholas Woessner.  “They have been out working the ice, breaking it up, making sure that commercial traffic is able to get to the waterfront facilities that they need to.”

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Woessner says that for the time being, river traffic is restricted to all but steel-hulled vessels, from the Chesapeake-and-Delaware canal in the south and the Betsy Ross Bridge in the north.

“All your commercial traffic is going to be a steel-hulled vessel,” he noted.  “Your large bulkers, your container ships, car carriers — those sorts of vessels.”

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Their work loop goes up to near Trenton. They’ll be out there every day until warmer air moves in.