EASTON, PA – The Delaware River Joint Toll Bridge Commission today awarded an engineering services contract to design a planned 2024 rehabilitation of the agency’s New Jersey I-78 4.2-mile-long roadway segment and the interchange for Phillipsburg/Routes 22 and 173 (Exit 3). The envisioned project also is expected to include upgrades to the Commission’s security camera network along I-78 in New Jersey and Pennsylvania and at the I-78 Toll Bridge.
The primary project objective is to address deteriorating roadway pavement conditions along both directions of I-78 on the New Jersey side of the Commission’s I-78 Toll Bridge. The highway segment was last rehabilitated between 2007 and 2009.
The design contract awarded today went to Arora and Associates P.C. of Lawrenceville, N.J. for an amount not-to-exceed $2,805,937.16. Aurora is to perform engineering services for the project including condition assessment, preliminary, final and post design services. The contract was approved this morning. at the Commission’s monthly meeting at its Scudder Falls Administration Building in Yardley, PA.
Ideally, the ensuing project’s construction work would begin in spring 2024 and reach completion by the end of that year. The Commission is optimistic the work can be performed while maintaining at least two travel lanes in each direction during daytime periods and single lanes in each direction during overnight periods.
The project was advanced based on recommendations from inspection and maintenance reports. The undertaking is expected to include milling and pavement of the roadway, installation of shoulder rumble strips, and restriping of both the New Jersey and Pennsylvania approaches to the bridge.
The design consultant also is tasked with considering alternative pavement designs that are more resistant to pavement deterioration caused by the heavy truck traffic. Truck traffic on the I-78 Toll Bridge accounts for approximately 30 percent of vehicular traffic, compared to the Commission-wide toll bridge average of 16 percent. The goal of the project is to rehabilitate and reconstruct the pavement so that major repairs and rehabilitation will not be necessary for 15 years.
The project also is expected to involve an extensive overhaul of the Commission’s Electronic Surveillance/Detection System’s cameras on the I-78 Toll Bridge and its New Jersey and Pennsylvania I-78 approaches. (The Commission also owns and maintains 2.25 miles of I-78 in Pennsylvania). The Commission’s wireless communications network and solar power systems with its I-78 jurisdiction also would be upgraded. The plan is to remove the current camera system and associated network and replace it with new hard-wired equipment and additional installations to provide enhanced camera coverage. The work will include the installation of new poles, conduit, wiring, cameras, and integration.
The I-78 Toll Bridge crosses the Delaware River between Williams Township in Northampton County, PA. and the Town of Phillipsburg in Warren County, N.J., about two miles south of the confluence of the Lehigh and Delaware Rivers at Easton.
The structure opened to traffic in 1989 and now ranks as the Commission’s most heavily used river crossing with an average daily traffic count of 63,500 vehicles in 2022. This bridge is among the nation’s most heavily used truck crossings, linking North Jersey port facilities with Pennsylvania’s warehousing destinations.
The bridge is a 1,222 foot-long, seven-span twin structure. On the Pennsylvania side, the approach is a six-lane limited access highway, approximately 2.25 miles in length. The Commission’s jurisdiction begins at the diamond interchange at Morgan Hill Road and extends to the bridge. The New Jersey approach is a six-lane roadway about 4.2 miles long, between the bridge and the first/last New Jersey exit.