Project Overview

This five-year-long project reached substantial completion Dec. 17, 2021 and final completion on October 31, 2022.  The project area extended 4.4 miles along I-95 between the PA Route 332 (Newtown-Yardley Road) Interchange (Exit 8) in Pennsylvania and the Bear Tavern Road (County Route 579) Interchange (Exit 75) in New Jersey. The centerpiece element of the project was the replacement of a nearly 60-year-old “functionally obsolete” riveted plate-girder bridge that had fracture-critical pins and hangers.  The new crossing is a dual-structure continuous multi-girder steel bridge with increased through-traffic capacity, auxiliarly lanes for accelerating/decelerating traffic at flanking interchanges, shoulders, and a shared-use (pedestrians and bicyclists) walkway.

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Project Information

Project in a Nutshell

All long-term project-related travel restrictions ended with the achievement of substantial completion on Dec. 17, 2021.  Final completion of the project was reached October 31, 2022.

The project was carried out in three stages:

  • Stage 1 centered on construction of the first span of the new bridge immediately upstream of the former neary-60-year-old Scudder Falls Bridge.  The completed upstream span was phased into service in July 2019 along with an all-electronic tolling (AET) facility on the Pennsylvania side of the bridge.  Highway interchange reconstruction/reallignment work also was performed at each end of the bridge during this stage.
  • Stage 2 began around the time the first completed span went into service.   This work involved demolition of the former functionally obsolete bridge and construction of the new Scudder Falls Toll Bridge’s second span.  Highway widening and other upgrades and interchange improvements also were completed during this stage.  This stage ended  with the opening of the second span in August 2021.
  • Stage 3 began in August 2021 and ended with the project reaching substantial completion on December 17, 2021.  The final lane and shoulder configurations for the project area were completed at this time, whith the first span (upstream) carrying only Pennsylvania-bound traffic and the second span (downstream) carrying only New Jersey-bound traffic.
  • All punch-list work was completed during the first 10 months of 2022 and final completion was declared October 31, 2022.

Preparations for the project were initiated in early 2003 and culminated with the June 14, 2012 issuance of a pivotal Finding of No Significant Impact (FONSI) from the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA).  The FHWA’s determination validated the project’s extensive environmental documentation (Environmental Assessment and Addendum to the Environmental Assessment) compiled by the Delaware River Joint Toll Bridge Commission and its project management team.

Note: A concise memo on the traffic diversion findings in the EA Addendum may be viewed here.

With the FHWA’s action in 2012, project preparations shifted to updating of project right-of-way plans, identification and execution of priority work items in anticipation of design and construction, and delivery of retrieved unearthed archaeological materials to state museums in Harrisburg and Trenton.

The Commission formally moved the project into the final design phase in early 2015.  This action followed the completion of a system-wide investment-grade (Level III) traffic and revenue study in 2014 and a reconfirmation that the project would be executed as a conventional design-bid-build project.

The program cost of the project was $534 million.  (This figure represents the all-in cost and includes construction, concept plans, final design, environmental documentation and all other previous and projected expenditures.)

The project involved much more than a replacement of the current functionally obsolete four-lane Scudder Falls Bridge.  The project also included safety upgrades to the two highway interchanges at both ends of the bridge, widening of the approach highway (formerly signed I-95 but switched to I-295 for reasons unrelated to the project) from the bridge to Route 322 in Pennsylvania, and construction of shoulders on the bridge crossing to handle breakdowns and emergencies.  The two inside shoulder lanes would have the capacity to serve proposed bus/rapid transit routes.  A shared-use bike/pedestrian walkway was constructed on the bridge’s upstream side to connect canal paths on both sides of the river.  Also noise-abatement walls were installed where warranted in the project area.

The project’s main elements were as follows:

  • Widen I-95 (later I-295) in Pennsylvania from PA 332 to the inside by adding one travel lane in each direction through utilization of the current grass median along that roadway stretch.
  • Reconfigured the Taylorsville Road Interchange in Lower Makefield Twp., Pa. by eliminating the existing eastern southbound off-ramp from I-95 and combining it with the existing western southbound off-ramp. All other existing ramps at the interchange — the northbound off-ramp, the two northbound on-ramps, and the southbound on-ramp — were  retained with various alignment modifications. This work was enhanced by other improvements, including installations of extended acceleration and deceleration lanes to improve traffic safety and flowat the interchanges and the bridge.
  • Replaced the former outdated four-lane Scudder Falls Bridge with an entirely new dual-span structure.  The new bridge carries six lanes of through traffic (three in each direction) with two auxiliary New Jersey-bound lanes for entry/exit travel at nearby interchanges and one auxiliary Pennsylvania-bound lane for entry/exit travel between nearby interchanges. The new bridge also has full inside and outside roadway shoulders, as required by federal design standards.
  • A bicycle and pedestrian facility opened November 2021 on the north side of the bridge’s upstream span.
  • Reconstructed and reconfigured the Route 29 interchange through the use of roundabouts. This option avoids traffic signals and encourages safe movements of vehicles between I-295 and Route 29.  Bypass lanes for NJ Route 29 northbound and southbound traffic were retained and improved acceleration and deceleration lanes were provided onto and off of I-295. The notorious stop-sign at the on-ramp from the interchange to the bridge was eliminated.

In December 2009, the Commission voted to establish cashless tolling for the Scudder Falls Replacement Bridge.  The action was taken due to the absence of federal and state transportation support for the project.

Tolling at the new bridge will be conducted through an “all-electronic tolling” (AET) system.  A conventional barrier toll plaza will not be built.  AET allows motorists to travel at prevailing speeds without having to stop to pay the toll.  Non-E-ZPass-equipped vehicles passing through the cashless toll system will be subject to video capture by the camera equipment mounted on an overhead gantry; the DRJTBC will send a bill to the vehicle’s registered owner to collect the Toll-by-Plate toll.  Tolls for E-ZPass customers will be lower than the rates for Toll-by-Plate customers, which will have higher administrative costs.  (To see the approved toll schedule for the new bridge, please the tolling page in the documents section of the Scudder Falls Bridge Replacement Project’s website —  The page may be directly accessed here.  It is scheduled take effect when the first span of the new bridge opens to traffic in early 2019.)

Tolling will be in the southbound direction only (entering Pennsylvania).  This one-direction toll collection is consistent with all other DRJTBC toll bridges where tolls are charged for traffic crossing from New Jersey to Pennsylvania.

Tolling at the Scudder Falls Replacement Bridge ensures that its users shoulder the cost burden of the project’s significant transportation-infrastructure and safety improvements.


Project Elements

New Scudder Falls Bridge

New Scudder Falls Bridge

Replaced the former congestion-prone, functionally obsolete Scudder Falls Bridge with a dual-span structure carrying six thru-traffic lanes (three in each direction) and three auxiliary lanes (two Pennsylvania to New Jersey bound, one New Jersey to Pennsylvania bound) for traffic merging onto and off the bridge and shoulders for breakdown/emergency access.  The new Scudder Falls Toll Bridge’s first span opened in July 2019 and the second span opened in August 2021.

Noise-Abatement Walls

Noise-Abatement Walls

Erected noise-abatement walls where warranted in Pennsylvania and New Jersey under the project’s main construction contract between 2017 and 2021.  Advance noise wall construction along I-295 west of the Taylorsville Road interchange (Exit 10) in Pennsylvania was completed in June 2017.

I-95/I-295 Roadway Improvements

I-95/I-295 Roadway Improvements

Widened the bridge’s Pennsylvania I-295 approach, increasing the roadway to three lanes in each direction. Improved drainage and approach-roadway exit/entry transitions in New Jersey.  Substantially completed December 2021.

Bicycle and Pedestrian Path

Bicycle and Pedestrian Path

Constructed a shared-use bike/ped path on the new bridge’s upstream span with ramps and pathways to recreational canal towpaths in Pennsylvania and New Jersey.  The path and other facilites completed under other contracts by the Delaware River Joint Toll Bridge Commission opened in November 2021.

Interchange Improvements

Interchange Improvements

Reconstructed the entire I-295/Route 29 Interchange (Exit 76) and its associated ramps and structures in Ewing, New Jersey.  Reconfigured the I-295/Taylorsville Road Interchange (Exit 10) in Lower Makefield, PA.

All-Electronic Tolling System

All-Electronic Tolling System

Installed an all-electronic tolling (AET) gantry and related infrastructure for highway-speed toll collection using E-ZPass tag readers and high-speed cameras for TOLL BY PLATE license-plate billing; tolls collected in the Pennsylvania bound direction only.  This work was completed in summer 2019.  Tolls began July 14, 2019.

Construction Schedule

2017 2018 2019 2020 2021 2022
Stage 1 (Completed; Upstream Span Opened July 9, 2019)
Upstream span constructed, PA approach widened, flanking interchanges reconfigured/reconstructed; All-Electronic Tolling began July 14, 2019
Stage 2 (July 2019-August 17, 2021)
Old bridge demolished, downstream span constructed, shared-use path on upsream span completed
Stage 3 (Fall 2021)
Traffic moved to outside lanes on completed bridge spans for set up of final travel patterns, final paving applied through project area
Final Stage (December 2021 to October 31, 2022)
All lanes open through project area while punch-list work was completed to close out the project

The Delaware River Joint Toll Bridge Commission’s contractor (Trumbull Corporation) carried out project construction with traffic moving across the river at all times. To achieve this, project construction was designed to be executed in four major stages.

STAGE ONE: New Bridge Construction (Upstream Span), Pennsylvania Approach Widening, and Reconfigured Interchanges
Construct First New Span
The old Scudder Falls Bridge remained in service with two travel lanes available in respective peak- travel period directions (PA to NJ on weekday mornings and NJ to PA on weekday evenings). Traffic shifts and intermittent off-peak single lane patterns were utilized on the highway corridor.  Periodic ramp closures with detours were used to carry out reconstruction or reallignments at nearby highway interchanges.

Major activities in Stage One included:

  • Construct new bridge span immediately upstream of the old Scudder Falls Bridge
  • Reconstructed a large portion of the Route 29 Interchange and its associated ramps and structures in Ewing, NJ
  • Reconfigured the Taylorsville Road Interchange in Lower Makefield, PA
  • Widened the bridge’s approach on the PA side, increasing the roadway to three lanes in each direction
  • Installed an All-Electronic Tolling (AET) gantry and related infrastructure for highway-speed toll collection
  • Constructed the bridge’s shared-use pedestrian/bicycle path (Construction of connecting ramps in Pennsylvania and New Jersey and other related facilities took place during Stages 2 and 3)
Completion of first new span: Opened to traffic night of July 9, 2019; tolls began July 14, 2019 in NJ-to-PA direction
  • After the first span was completed and its AET system was fully tested and operational, traffic from the old bridge traffic was shifted in stages onto the newly completed upstream span. A temporary barrier separated opposing lanes of traffic (two in each direction).
  • The new upstream span carried all traffic in both directions for approximately two years.
  • All-electronic toll collection began in the Pennsylvania-bound direction only on July 14, 2019.
  • Demolition of the old bridge began immediately after the initial shift of traffic to the first completed new bridge span.
STAGE TWO: New Bridge Construction (Downstream Span); Demolition and Removal Of Old Bridge; Complete Interchanges
Demolished the old bridge; Constructed the second new span:
Summer 2019 to summer 2021
Second span opened to NJ-bound traffic only in limited two lane configuration August 17, 2021.
After the first new bridge span’s completion, highway was shifted off the old bridge in two phases.  Two travel lanes were maintained in respective peak-travel-period directions (PA to NJ in mornings and NJ to PA in evenings) with occasional traffic shifts and intermittent off-peak single lane patterns. Bridge closures were never utilized to carry out the project.

Major activities in Stage Two included:

  • Demolition and removal of the nearly 60-year-old, functionally obsolete Scudder Falls Bridge
  • Constructed the new toll bridge’s second span (downstream span)
  • Improved drainage and approach roadway exit/entry transitions in Ewing, NJ
  • Completed all I-295 widening immediately west of the bridge
  • Completed reconstruction of the Route 29 Interchange in Ewing, NJ
  • Completed ramp reallignments at the Taylorsville Road Interchange in Lower Makefield, PA
  • Continued ramp access construction in Pennsylvania and New Jersey for the new bridge’s shared-use pedestrian/bicyle facility
STAGE THREE: Roadwork, Drainage and Transitions In New Jersey
Completed Remaining Work: December 2021-October 2022 After both new spans were completed, another major traffic shift was implemented with New Jersey-bound traffic being moved off the first completed span to the newly completed downstream bridge span. The upstream bridge was then reconfigured to carry only New Jersey-bound traffic with the AET gantry being put into full service in collecting tolls on four travel lanes.  This took several months to complete.  Durint this period, traffic was moved to the outside lanes on both spans so the contractor could make final transitional improvements on the approach roadways in New Jersey and Pennsylvania.

  • New downstream span completed
  • Both spans opened to traffic in outside lanes
  • Remaining roadwork and drainage improvements were completed on the New Jersey side
  • Final paving and striping was completed through the project area
  • Shared-use pedestrian/bicycle facility completed and put into service with a ceremonial event on Nov. 16, 2021.  [Note:  Under the project contract, the contractor had until project’s substantial-completion date (mid-December 2021) to complete this facility.]
Completed Remaining Work: December 2021-October 2022
Completed Remaining Work: December 2021-October 2022