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DRJTBC - Rehabilitation of the Lower Trenton Toll Supported Bridge

Lower Trenton Bridge Rehabilitation

In July 2005, the Delaware River Joint Toll Bridge Commission rededicated the Lower Trenton Toll Supported Bridge, marking the completion of a $4 million renovation project that included both the cleaning and repainting of the structural steel on the bridge as well as the installation of a new, improved "Trenton Makes" sign.

Work on the bridge included a $3.6 million renovation project that entailed the cleaning and repainting of the structural steel and sidewalk railing on the Lower Trenton Toll Supported Bridge as well as improvements to the bridge approach. That work improved the aesthetics of the bridge and will extend the useful life of the structure.

The installation of the new "Trenton Makes, The World Takes" sign was completed as part of the project. The sign work consisted of installing new structural connections, the fabrication of the aluminum replacement letters, lighting elements, power supply, and the mounting of the sign onto the downstream truss. The total cost of the sign replacement was $383,427. Both projects are part of $5.7 million in planned improvements to the bridge

The Commission installed the new sign because of ongoing lighting and maintenance problems associated with the technology used by the old sign. The new sign will have many advantages over the older sign it replaced. Water damage and maintenance issues will be reduced because of an updated power supply and improved weatherproofing of the letters. At the same time, the closed backs will provide a cleaner, more streamlined look to the letters from the bridge itself. In addition, deeper letters will provide improved illumination and protection of the neon lights.

The original Lower Trenton Bridge was the first bridge to span the Delaware River when it opened in 1806. Before that time, travel across the river was made by ferry, which was often an uncertain means of travel because of flooding and ice, which could delay travel for weeks at a time. The bridge was later remodeled to permit the passage of locomotives and was the first bridge in the United States to be used in interstate railroad traffic. In 1876, a new iron bridge for vehicular and pedestrian traffic was constructed to replace the older, wooden bridge. That bridge, in turn, was replaced in 1928 with the current structure, using the same stone piers as the original bridge constructed in 1806.

The new sign installed by the Commission is actually the fifth "Trenton Makes" sign to span the Delaware River. The slogan, which was originally "The World Takes, Trenton Makes," came from a contest sponsored by the Chamber of Commerce in 1910. The individual who coined the phrase was S. Roy Heath, who owned Heath Lumber and would go on to become a New Jersey State Senator. In 1994, the Commission assumed full control of the sign from the Mercer Chamber of Commerce.

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