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DRJTBC - Easton-Phillipsburg (Route 22) Toll Bridge Rehabilitation

 

After a nearly three-month-long winter hiatus, intensified construction activities and related lane closures resumed in early March for the 2014 stage of the Easton-Phillipsburg (Route 22) Toll Bridge Rehabilitation Project.  Initial activities for 2014 involved establishment of a segregated, barricaded work zone through the project area; installation of a painting platforms/residue-containment system above the bridge's travel lanes; repair/replacement of concrete slabs at the toll plaza approach; and the phased-in set up of corresponding single-lane traffic configurations and ramp closures.

The full menu of initial long-term traffic restrictions for the project's 2014 work stage was established in early April. The work zone's uninterrupted travel restrictions are now as follows:

-- Route 22 westbound - single lane beginning approximately 1,600 feet before the toll plaza in Phillipsburg fanning out to at least four collection lanes at the toll plaza, and returning to a single lane after the toll plaza, crossing over into the left eastbound lane for travel across the toll bridge and through Easton to around Fourth Street where traffic crosses back to the full two-lane westbound roadway.

- Route 22 eastbound -- single lane beginning before Cemetery Curve in Easton and continuing right-lane-only through downtown and across the toll bridge before returning to two travel lanes after the first exit in Phillipsburg.

- Route 611 underpass below Route 22 -- closed indfinitely for bridge replacement work and roadway rehabilitation.  (Use Third Street instead;detour posted.)

- Off-ramp from Route 22 westbound to Route 611 immediately after the toll bridge in Easton -- closed for rehabilitation work for extended period. (Use Snyder Street exit instead, detour posted)

- On-ramp to Route 22 eastbound from Route 611/Larry Holmes Drive in Easton -- closed indefinitely for safety reasons due to single-lane travel configurations on Route 22. (Use the 2nd Street/Bushkill Street on ramp instead, detour posted)

- Both directions of Route 22 overnight periods -- Intermittent 15-minute-long traffic stoppages starting 8 p.m. nightly and continuing through early morning hours the next day, Thursday, July 24 to at least Thursday, July 31.

Latest Updates -- Late July

Travel Alert: Nightly Traffic Stoppages at Toll Bridge in late-July
Route 22 motorists may encounter traffic stoppages up to 15-minutes in duration during overnight periods at the Easton-Phillipsburg Toll Bridge through late July. The temporary shutdowns of travel lanes will affect motorists along both directions of the highway and are needed to allow for safe removal of overhead painting platforms, containment measures, outriggers and cables suspended about the toll bridge's steel truss. The travel restrictions will begin Thursday, July 4, occurring nightly between 8 p.m. and early morning hours the next day.

PROJECT TRAVEL RESTRICTIONS - July 24-31
- U.S. 22 both directions limited to single lanes 24/7
- U.S. 22 both directions subject to 15-minute long traffic stoppages overnights 7/24-7/31
- U.S. 22 west off-ramp to PA 611 CLOSED (to reopen July 29)
- PA 611 underpass below U.S. 22 CLOSED (to reopen July 29)
- U.S. 22 east on-ramp from PA 611/ Larry Homes Dr. CLOSED

Motorists using Route 22 should allow extra time to reach their destinations going forward -- especially during peak travel times.

Resources

Materials you can use and download:

- 2014 long-term project zone travel map, begin implenting week of March 23

- Easton-Phillipsburg Toll Bridge lane pattern 2014

- Alternate route map via I-78

- Project Fact Sheet 2014


 
Other resources/contacts:

- E-mail address: 22tollbridge@drjtbc.org
- Twitter handle: @22TollBridge
- Toll-free information/call in line: 855-FIX-SPAN (1-855-349-7726)
- NJ511 - dial 511 in New Jersey
- PA511 - dial 511 in Pennsylvania
- Contact Us - see link at top right corner of this webpage
- E-ZPass - dial 1-800-872-5061 (for E-ZPass issues only, or to get an account)

General Travel Warning for 2014

Motorists and residents in the Easton-Phillipsburg area should anticipate and plan for increased traffic congestion from mid-March through mid-December 2014.  To carry out construction activities for the 2014's project stages, it will be necessary to limit traffic on Route 22 to single lanes of travel in each direction on an uninterrupted, round-the-clock basis for nine months.

Traffic backups of several miles and severe travel delays are possible along Route 22 and there is a potential of spillover to local roads in the two riverside communities, especially during busy job commuting periods.

The Commission recommends that Route 22 motorists - in particular peak-period job commuters - use nearby I-78 as a travel alternative to circumvent the toll bridge project's lane closures, traffic congestion and delays. The Commission's Northampton Street Bridge ("the free bridge") is not recommended as a travel alternative because it already is congested and cannot handle vehicles in excess of three tons.

Project Background

The Easton-Phillipsburg Toll Bridge turned 75 years old in early 2013 and this project will mark the first time the bridge and its related facilities receive extensive collective attention in more than 20 years.

The total time frame for this project is almost two years, with substantial completion (end of extended lane closures) set for December 2014 and final project completion expected to be attained in spring 2015.

The project will include more than the hulking steel through-truss bridge that carries Route 22 across the Delaware River between Phillipsburg, N.J. and Easton, Pa. All totaled, the project's work zone will extend three-quarters of a mile and the corresponding area of single-lane travel patterns will extend more than two miles along Route 22.

Primary rehabilitation project work elements are expected to include:

- Rehabilitation of the main-river bridge, including deck removal and replacement, cleaning and painting of all structural steel, rehabilitation/replacement of bridge drainage system, structural steel and substructure repairs as called for in inspection reports, and rehabilitation of pedestrian railings

- Pennsylvania approach roadway pavement repairs (east of Fourth Street in Easton)

- Bank Street Overpass rehabilitation (Route 22 in Easton)

- Third Street Overpass rehabilitation (Route 22 in Easton)

- Construct ADA compliant ramp at Bushkill Street for pedestrian tunnel beneath Route 22

- Removal and replacement of deteriorating overpass that carries Route 22 across PA Route 611 in Easton

-  Broad Street Viaduct Rehabilitation (Route 22 in Phillipsburg)

- Toll Plaza minor repairs and painting

- Sign Structure Rehabilitation (Route 22 in Phillipsburg)

- New Jersey approach roadway pavement repairs (Phillipsburg)

- Replace roadway and bridge lighting throughout the project area - lighting on Snyder Street in Easton will be fashioned to match Easton streetscape lighting

- Electrical upgrades to toll facility load center in Commission's administration building on the Phillipsburg side

Traffic Implications

The Commission plans to carry out this project without using a full bridge shutdown.  However, it will be necessary to limit travel on Route 22 to single lanes in each direction for a total of 15 months spread over two years. Local detours also will be necessary during some periods in the City of Easton as entry-and-exit ramps for Route 22 and Snyder Street in Easton are closed for work as part of the project at different intervals in 2013 and 2014.

Motorists who regularly use the affected roadway segment between Phillipsburg and Easton should brace themselves because the traffic impacts are likely to be severe during peak driving periods.

The traffic volumes tell the story:

- During peak commuting times, up to 2,200 vehicles per hour cross the toll bridge using two lanes in the peak direction - from 6 a.m. to 9 a.m. in the eastbound direction and from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. in the westbound direction.

- Engineers estimate that a maximum of only 1,400 vehicles per hour will be able to cross the toll bridge in the peak direction once single-lane configurations are employed. This means that 800 vehicles will need to adjust their travel schedules, wait in traffic queues or go elsewhere to cross between Pennsylvania and New Jersey.

Travel in the work zone will be further limited by narrow quarters - 10-foot-wide lanes in each direction on the toll bridge and mergers of traffic from highway access ramps in both directions on the bridge's Easton side. Motorists also will encounter single-lane travel well in advance of the toll bridge in both Phillipsburg (traffic shift will be 800 feet east of the toll plaza on Route 22 west) and Easton (taper for single lane to begin at milepost 336.4, which is east of the 13th Street interchange and before Cemetery Curve).

Once fully put into place, the area of single-lane travel will extend roughly one mile in the westbound direction (to slightly past Fourth Street in Easton) and two miles in the eastbound direction (lane shift ending in the area of the toll plaza in Phillipsburg).

Note: The Commission expects two lanes of travel to be fully restored before Christmas 2014.  Only sporadic temporary off-peak lane restrictions should be necessary in 2015 when final project work elements are completed.

Why the project is needed

While the bridge and its related facilities are considered to be in overall satisfactory or fair condition, examinations of the Commission's Easton-Phillipsburg (Route 22) Toll Bridge facility have identified several deficiencies that warrant rehabilitation and/or improvement under a single project.

These include:

* Numerous medium to wide transverse cracks throughout the bridge deck slab with several spalls and exposed rebars;

* Several members of the bridge's floor beam system exhibit areas of medium to severe surface rust and peeling paint;

* Pack rust has built up at several locations between eyebars and gusset plate connections;

* Medium to wide cracks exist in the asphalt and concrete slabs of the approach bridge structures and roadways;

* Large areas of deteriorated asphalt patches and concrete areas at some locations;

* Leaking and deteriorated deck joints at several locations.

A list of broadly defined project work elements was identified following an in-depth inspection and assessment of the facility in 2010. The inspection work involved structural engineers using climbing ropes and cables to thoroughly examine remote areas of the bridge. Additional project elements were identified under a scoping and conceptual study of improvements to the main river bridge, approach structures, toll plaza area and the New Jersey and Pennsylvania approach roadways. The inspections and concept study work were carried out under a contract awarded to the engineering firm Pennoni Associates, Inc. in July 2010.

Public Involvement and Open Houses

The Commission regularly conducts outreach efforts in advance of major project. The Commission has found that public involvement efforts can play an important role in identifying and mitigating potential project impacts for motorists, area residents and businesses.

The Commission gathered public comment from local residents and bridge users on the conceptual design elements during two open house sessions -- one in Easton and the second in Phillipsburg -- on August 30, 2011. These open houses provided the public with an opportunity to view the conceptual details, pose questions to the project team, and submit comment on the project.

Nearing the end of the project's preliminary design phase, two additional open houses -- one in Easton and the second in Phillipsburg -- were held on November 28, 2012. These sessions provided updated and more-expansive details on the project scope, the various project phases, existing conditions, the latest construction schedule, lane closures, detours and other related information.

Please click on the following links to view various informational boards displayed at the November 28 open house sessions:

- Project overview
- Existing pavement conditions
- Broad Street (Phillipsburg) existing conditions
- Main river bridge existing conditions
- Route 611 (Easton) existing conditions
- Construction schedule
- Construction stage 1 and 4
- Construction stage 2
- Construction stage 3
- Detour plan stage 3A
- Detour plan state 3B
- Safety Improvements
- Public Involvement

 

Facility history/statistical information

The Easton-Phillipsburg Toll Bridge was the first of the seven toll bridges constructed and operated by the Commission. The bridge officially opened to traffic as the Bushkill Street Bridge on January 14, 1938. The main river bridge consists of a single 540-foot Pennsylvania Petit through-truss span. Its four-lane roadway has a 40-foot width. There are eight-foot concrete pedestrian sidewalks on each side of the bridge. The posted speed limit for vehicles traveling across the toll bridge is 25 mph.

The Easton-Phillipsburg facility also has four approach structures: a 430-foot, five-span plate-girder viaduct at the New Jersey approach, a 40-foot pre-stressed concrete box beam span over PA Route 611, a 83-foot multi-beam steel single span structure over 3rd Street and a 120-foot three-span continuous steel bridge over Bank Street on the Pennsylvania approach.

A five-lane one-way toll plaza is located in the westbound direction on the New Jersey side of the bridge. It is the only DRJTBC toll plaza located in New Jersey.

To mark the bridge's 75th anniversary in January 2013, the Commission issued an extensive press release explaining the bridge's development, service record on Route 22 and the corresponding additional projects that were conducted in subsequent years to make it a major regional crossing connecting Pennsylvania's Lehigh Valley with North Jersey and the New York metropolitan area.

The total projected program cost for the rehabilitation project at the toll bridge is $29.6 million. This figure includes concept design, inspections, preliminary design, final design, construction, construction management and inspection, advertising, public involvement and all other project-related activities.

Members of the public who may have questions or concerns about the project are urged to contact:

Toll-free phone - 1-855-FIX-SPAN (855-349-7726)
or e-mail - 22tollbridge@drjtbc.org 

Web site visitors also may wish to use the "Contact Us" function in the list of links at the top right of this web page.


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