PHILLIPSBURG, NJ – Construction activities are expected to begin next week on a multi-faceted project aimed at rehabilitating approach slabs and structural components at various overpasses and approach bridges along the Delaware River Joint Toll Bridge Commission’s roughly 6.5-mile-long I-78 segment in western New Jersey and eastern Pennsylvania, the agency announced today.
I-78 motorists may encounter periodic backups and travel delays as various lane closures and traffic shifts are implemented to carry out the project between now and fall 2018. (There will be a brief hiatus in lane closures when construction activities are placed on hold during the winter.)
The project entails bridge approach slab replacements at eight approach structures (relatively short-distance overpass/underpass type bridges), cleaning and painting at six approach and overpass structures, and an assortment of other tasks, including restriping the Commission’s entire I-78 roadway segment.
Project Work, Eastbound Lane Closures Starting Next Week
Construction activities will ramp up next week with milling and paving of rumble strips along the eastbound highway shoulders in the areas where initial project work will be taking place and where traffic shifts will be needed in the coming months.
To carry out this work, the contractor may restrict I-78 eastbound traffic to a two-lane pattern instead of the current three-lane configuration during peak travel hours (5 a.m. to 8 p.m. weekdays) and to a single-lane pattern during off-peak hours (8 p.m. to 5 a.m. weekdays). Moderate backups and travel delays could periodically arise when lane closures are in effect.
Motorists are urged to allow extra time to reach their destinations when traveling I-78 eastbound through the project area next week. Motorists also should reduce speeds and exercise caution whenever traveling through the various active work zones.
Future Travel Impacts
Westbound lane closures and weekend lane closures also will be utilized in coming weeks to carry out the project. The Commission will provide advance notice as addition travel restrictions are implemented over the course of the project.
Project-related travel restrictions primarily will involve protracted single-lane closures that will limit motorists to two travel lanes in a respective direction instead of the usual three travel lanes.
However, there will be several weekends over the course of the project where the project contractor will need to restrict traffic along a respective direction of I-78 to a single-lane pattern instead of the normal three-lane configuration. These single-lane patterns will involve intensified 34-hour work periods (8 p.m. Fridays to 6 a.m. Sundays) on select weekends. Although weekend traffic volumes are lower, severe backups and travel delays remain likely during the single-lane travel periods.
(The Commission plans to issue periodic travel alerts to advise motorists of scheduled project-related travel restrictions. The NJ511 and PA511 travel alert systems also will be utilized as warranted.)
To raise public awareness of the project and its potential travel impacts, the Commission has created a project webpage that may be accessed at: http://www.drjtbc.org/project/I-78
I-78 Jurisdiction Background
The Commission’s I-78 Toll Bridge and flanking I-78 approach segments are the most heavily used facilities in the Commission’s 20 bridge system. The bridge carried 24.9 million vehicles in 2016.
The I-78 Toll Bridge opened to traffic November 21, 1989. The Commission’s jurisdiction includes the 1,222-foot-long twin seven-span river bridge, 2.25 miles of I-78 roadway in Pennsylvania and 4.2 miles of I-78 roadway in New Jersey. The Commission also owns and maintains 11 approach and overpass structures along this busy highway corridor.