SCUDDER FALLS — A series of lane closures, traffic shifts, and interchange ramp openings and ramp detours will be implemented over a five-week period to fully bring the first completed span of the new Scudder Falls Toll Bridge and adjoining I-295 approaches into a new temporary alignment, the Delaware River Joint Toll Bridge Commission announced today.
This transitional period of travel changes will kick off early next week and wrap up on or about August 15. This phased-in plan to open the new bridge – initially carrying only Pennsylvania-bound traffic starting sometime on July 10 – will impact I-295 commuters and motorists using the bridge’s flanking interchanges in Pennsylvania and New Jersey.
The Commission is urging drivers who use the Scudder Falls river crossing and its adjoining I-295 segments to stay alert, exercise caution, and allow extra time to reach their destinations as this schedule of travel changes unfolds during the coming weeks. Weather permitting, the transitional-period schedule will be implemented roughly as follows:
- July 8-11 – I-295 NB Approaching the Scudder Falls Bridge in New Jersey Restricted to Single Lane 24/7 – Starting 6 a.m. Monday, July 8, and continuing until about 2 p.m. Thursday, July 11, I-295 NB (toward PA) will be reduced from three travel lanes to a single lane in the vicinity of the County Route 579/Bear Tavern Road interchange (Exit 75). This single-lane pattern will remain in place around-the-clock. Travel delays are likely at any time, but severe congestion and delays are likeliest during evening peak commuting periods – 2 p.m. to 8 p.m. The four-day single-lane pattern is needed for a “high-intensity construction cycle” (HICC) that will build the roadway crossover along I-295 northbound to the new bridge. Affected commuters are advised to use the nearby Trenton-Morrisville (Route 1) Toll Bridge as an alternate route during this critical period.
- July 10 – First Completed Span of the New Scudder Falls Toll Bridge Opens – After two years of construction, the new Scudder Falls Toll Bridge’s first completed span is expected to open to traffic – PA-bound-direction only – sometime early on Wednesday, July 10. The opening is contingent on the successful completion of the HICC work near the Bear Tavern Road/CR-579 interchange. The new bridge will carry two-lanes of PA-bound traffic. The two-corresponding lanes of New Jersey-bound traffic will remain on the old bridge. The two bridges will remain in service in this configuration for two weeks. PA-bound motorists may travel across the new bridge free of charge for the first four days it is open to traffic.
- July 10 – All Closed Ramps at I-295/Route 29 Interchange (Exit 76 in NJ) and I-295/Taylorsville Road Interchange (Exit 10 in PA) reopen – Coinciding with the opening of the new bridge to PA-bound traffic, the adjoining feeder ramps on the upstream side of the new bridge will reopen to traffic. In New Jersey, the affected ramps have been closed for 20 weeks, allowing work crews to install a new roundabout, retaining walls, drainage, and a series of new ramps. So, for the first time since February, a motorists can get onto I-295 NB and the Scudder Falls Bridge from Route 29. Also, at this time in Pennsylvania, the Taylorsville Road access ramp to I-295 WB toward Newtown and Philadelphia will reopen after a six-week reconstruction closure/detour.
- July 14 – Tolling Begins in PA-Bound Direction on the New Scudder Falls Toll Bridge – Early in the morning of Sunday, July 14 – at a second after midnight – the new All-Electronic Tolling (AET) gantry on the Pennsylvania side of the new Scudder Falls Toll Bridge will go live. The AET gantry is outfitted with E-ZPass transponder readers and high-resolution cameras and will assess tolls upon Pennsylvania-bound vehicles passing at highway speeds below. There are two base Class 1 E-ZPass passenger vehicle tolls: $1.25 for E-ZPass and $2.60 for TOLL BY PLATE vehicle owners without an E-ZPass tag. (Vehicles without an E-ZPass will have their license plates recorded and the registered owner will later be sent an invoice via U.S. Mail. The higher toll is necessary to cover the cost of identifying vehicle owners, sending an invoice, and processing the non-E-ZPass transaction. Cash will not be accepted (no toll booths.) DO NOT STOP. For toll rates, discounts, frequently asked questions and other information about tolling at the new Scudder Falls Toll Bridge, please go to: http://www.scudderfallsbridge.com/tolling/. An informational video about the new Scudder Falls Toll Bridge’s All-Electronic Tolling facility/process may be viewed on YouTube at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eYyL2ZJq5Bo&t=31s.
- July 15 –NJ Route 175/River Road On-Ramp to I-295 SB Closes for a Year – Prior to the morning peak-commuting period, the I-295 NB on-ramp from NJ Route 175/River Road in Ewing, N.J. will be shut down for approximately a year. Affected motorists seeking to access at I-295 SB at this location are advised to use the I-295 SB access ramp off the downstream roundabout at the nearby I-295?Route 29 interchange (Exit 76) while this ramp closure is in effect.
- July 24 – New Jersey-Bound I-295 Traffic Lanes Get Shifted into New Pattern across the Scudder Fall Toll Bridge – During early morning hours, the two New Jersey-bound direction lanes of I-295 approaching the new Scudder Falls Toll Bridge will be shifted into a new pattern and across the new upstream bridge span into New Jersey. A concrete center divider will separate the opposing directions of traffic across the new bridge. While the NJ-bound traffic will initially travel under the new bridge’s AET gantry, the toll collection equipment above will be deactivated. Tolls will not be collected in the NJ-bound direction. The nearly 60-year-old Scudder Falls Bridge will be taken out of service at this time; demolition of the old bridge will get fully underway at this time.
- July 24 – New Three-Week-Long Ramp Closures Begin at the Bridge’s Flanking Pennsylvania and New Jersey I-295 Interchanges – A series of corresponding ramp closures and detours will take effect at the interchanges on both ends of the Scudder Falls Toll Bridge when NJ-bound traffic gets shifted onto the new span. At the I-295/Taylorsville Road interchange (New Hope-Yardley, Exit 10) in Pennsylvania, three ramps will close:
- The I-295 EB off-ramp to Taylorsville Road.
- The Taylorsville Road southbound entry ramp to I-295 EB/SB immediately before the old Scudder Falls Bridge.
- And the Taylorsville Road northbound entry ramp to I-295 EB/SB immediately before the old Scudder Falls Bridge.
Affected traffic from these ramp closures will be detoured to the Yardley-Newtown/Route 332 interchange (Exit 8) either along I-295 WB from the Taylorsville Road interchange or via Taylorsville Road and Route 332/West Afton Avenue/Yardley-Newtown Road.At the I-295/Route 29 interchange (Exit 76) in New Jersey one ramp will close:
- The off-ramp to Route 29 immediately after crossing the new bridge from Pennsylvania into New Jersey will be closed and detoured via the I-295/Scotch Road interchange (Exit 73A).
The four ramp closures and detours will enable construction crews to extend the affected ramps out to the new temporary I-295 alignment in the vicinity of the newly opened Scudder Falls Toll Bridge’s completed upstream span.
Motorists who use the affected ramps are advised to plan ahead, follow the posted detours, and allow extra time to reach their destinations while the ramp closures/posted detours are in effect.
- August 15 – Five-Week-Long Transition Period Ends; Three-Week-Long Ramp Closures at Taylorsville Road and NJ Route 29 Interchanges Ends – All ramp closures at Taylorsville Road (PA) and Route 29 (NJ) end. The resulting temporary alignment of I-295 and its corresponding interchange ramps is to remain in place for roughly 18 months while the second Scudder Falls Toll Bridge span gets constructed. Total project completion is expected to be achieved by summer/fall 2021.
All dates listed above are targets subject to change due to weather, emergencies, traffic considerations, and construction mobilization considerations. More information and maps will be issued as respective travel restrictions and traffic-pattern changes draw closer to implementation.
During this challenging transitional period, motorists are urged to allow extra time to reach their destinations, reduce speeds and exercise caution when travelling through project work areas.
More information on the Scudder Falls Bridge Replacement Project is available at www.scudderfallsbridge.com.