EASTON, PA – The fully restored gold-leaf state-seal monuments of New Jersey and Pennsylvania are scheduled to be reinstalled atop the towers of the Northampton Street Toll-Supported Bridge (a.k.a. Easton-Phillipsburg “free bridge”) this Wednesday, the Delaware River Joint Toll Bridge Commission announced today.
As is the current practice, one of the bridge’s three travel lanes will be closed temporarily during off-peak daytime hours so the monuments can be lifted and fastened into place.
The monuments were removed in late 2021 during early preparations for the 18-month-long Northampton Street Bridge Rehabilitation Project. The removal of the monuments and various historical plaques on the bridge allowed for extensive bridge cleaning and painting work that took place between March and December of this year. Painting touchup was completed last week.
After their removal from the bridge, the state monuments were transported to the famous Seward Johnson Atelier in Hamilton, N.J., where they were cleaned and fully restored over the course of the past year. Meanwhile, the bridge’s historic signage was put into temporary storage as a protective measure.
Some of the plaques are scheduled to be reinstalled this week. The remainder are expected to be put back before the end of the year.
A variety of other project activities continue to take place at the bridge, notably the installation of new sidewalk panels on the bridge’s upstream side. This work should be completed in a few weeks.
As weather permits, other project work will progress through the winter and into the spring. The bridge’s electrical systems will be replaced and a new backup generator will be installed. The bridge also will be outfitted with new ornamental lighting fixtures and a new programmable architectural lighting system to highlight the bridge’s iconic profile along the riverfront.
Only temporary off-peak weekday lane closures are expected to be needed to complete remaining project tasks. Single lanes in each direction are to be maintained whenever a lane closure is in effect, with a turn lane for left turns onto Larry Holmes Drive at the bridge’s Easton side. The project, which began in the fall of 2021, remains on track to reach completion in spring 2023.
(Note: Impending dates and times in this release are subject to change due to weather, emergencies, etc.)
The 550-foot-long, 36-foot-wide bridge is the Commission’s busiest non-toll crossing. It carried a daily average of 16,500 vehicles (both directions) in 2021. The bridge has a three-ton weight limit and a 15-mph speed limit. Bridge monitors are stationed at each end of the bridge on a 24/7 basis to prevent crossings of overweight vehicles.
More information on the Northampton Street Bridge Rehabilitation Project is available on a webpage the Commission website. The direct link is: www.drjtbc.org/project/freebridge.