EWING, NJ – The NJ Route 29 southbound bypass lane at I-295/Route 29 interchange (Exit 76) is scheduled to undergo a one-week-long test closure with a corresponding traffic shift through the interchange’s adjoining service lanes starting noon Wednesday, Feb. 26.
If the initial one-week-long traffic diversion trial works as anticipated, the Route 29 SB travel-restriction pattern will be extended for up to an additional 18 months to allow for a series of construction activities on the New Jersey side of the Scudder Falls Toll Bridge.
As currently configured, the single-lane Route 29 SB bypass allows traffic from Washington Crossing and other points north to avoid the interchange’s ramps and roundabouts for travel toward Trenton. This pattern is poised to change on Feb. 26, when all Route 29 SB traffic will be shifted through the interchange’s adjoining ramps and roundabouts so the adjoining single southbound bypass lane can be shut down. (CLICK HERE TO VIEW DETOUR MAP)
Traffic on the Scudder Falls Toll Bridge, both directions of I-295, and Route 29 NB is not anticipated to be affected while the Route 29 SB diversion plan is in place.
The nearby Route 29 NB bypass lane has been closed with traffic diverted through the interchange’s roundabouts and connector ramps since Jan. 21. That closure has not caused appreciable delays or motorist impacts during the four weeks it has been in place. The northbound bypass is scheduled to reopen shortly before the Route 29 SB bypass traffic diversion plan takes effect on Feb. 26.
Under the impending Route 29 SB bypass closure and diversion plan, motorists should expect to encounter brief delays and backups only during weekday morning-peak travel periods – 7:30 a.m. to 9:30 a.m. Monday through Friday. This could especially be the case on the first morning the new travel pattern is in place – Thursday, Feb. 27.
The upcoming planned shutdown of the NJ Route 29 SB bypass is needed to advance a series of construction activities for the ongoing Scudder Falls Bridge Replacement Project. This Stage 2 work includes the demolition and removal of the old Scudder Falls Bridge, the construction of the new toll bridge’s second span (downstream), and the erection of an elevated ramp and connecting pathway to/from the shared-use bicycle/pedestrian path that was installed on the new bridge’s first completed span (upstream) during Stage 1. These Stage 2 construction activities must take place in a confined area between Route 29 and the river. The Route 29 SB bypass lane closure will provide sufficient additional space to allow for movements and storage of construction equipment and materials while enhancing worker safety in the process.
Target Opening Dates for Second Bridge Span and Shared-use Bike/Ped Facility
If the Route 29 SB bypass lane remains closed for the maximum 18-month duration, the projected date for its reopening would be sometime in late August 2021. At that point, the second completed bridge span (downstream) is expected to come online along with the New Jersey-side connections between the toll bridge’s elevated shared-use path and the Delaware & Raritan Canal towpath a short distance upstream.
The bridge’s concrete bike/ped path was installed during the Stage 1 construction of the toll bridge’s first span, which opened to vehicular traffic last summer. The elevated path, however, is inaccessible at this time. Ramps and other connections to the bridge’s shared-use path still need to be constructed.
As currently scheduled, the public could have limited access to the bridge’s shared-use path for sight-seeing purposes sometime this summer, when the access ramp from the Pennsylvania side is expected to be completed and opened. Access to and from the New Jersey side, however, will not be available until at least late summer 2021.
After the estimated completion of the project’s Stage 2 work with the opening of new bridge’s downstream span in August 2021, a third work-stage period will ensue. Stage 3 will largely involve I-295 approach roadway transitional work along I-295. This stage should wrap up in late 2021, with all long-term construction-related lane and ramp closures ending at that time.
The aforementioned scheduled travel restrictions identified above are subject to change due to weather, emergency, traffic, and equipment/materials mobilization considerations. 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.