WASHINGTON – The State Department said Friday it has worked through a massive backlog in passport applications and that processing times are back to normal after months of major delays that disrupted summer travel plans for thousands of Americans. The department said the hiring of hundreds of new adjudicators, temporary transfers of employees to passport centers and the opening of a new facility to handle the deluge had brought the waiting period for a standard application back to six to eight weeks, and three weeks for expedited service. “We’re very pleased that we’ve been able to get back to the customer service standard that has long been our desire, and pleased that we’ve been able to do so in accordance with the commitments that we made to the American people and Congress,” deputy spokesman Tom Casey said. At one point during the summer, the processing time had stretched to more than three months for a standard application, infuriating many would-be overseas travelers and sparking a rash of harsh criticism from lawmakers. The surge was largely the result of new post-Sept. 11, 2001, immigration rules that took effect in January requiring U.S. citizens to have passports for air travel to Canada, Mexico. Casey said the State Department has issued more than 16 million passports since October 2006. 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!