The bridge’s southbound lanes were in gridlock for nearly an hour after a car caught fire.
No one was injured, according to Lt. Brendan Martin of the Portsmouth Fire Department.
Police and firefighters from Portsmouth, the Newport Navy Base and Fall River responded at about 3:45 p.m., according to Lt. Martin, who said Tiverton was dealing with a separate incident.
Black plumes of smoke were seen on the Portsmouth side of the bridge before the fire was extinguished. Lt. Martin said the department is still investigating the cause of the fire.
Traffic in the southbound lanes was backed up well ahead of Tiverton’s Main Road exit. Many drivers who had gone past the exit didn’t like what they saw in front of them, so they drove onto the grassy medium strip to get to the exit lane.
Shortly after the scene was cleared, a car was rear-ended in the right, southbound lane, forcing rescue workers to make a return trip to the bridge.