NEW HOPE, PA – Time is running out for motorists, pedestrians, business owners and other interested parties to submit comment on informational materials for an upcoming rehabilitation of the nearly 120-year-old bridge connecting the commercial centers of New Hope, PA. and Lambertville, N.J.
The public comment period for the New Hope-Lambertville Toll-Supported Bridge Rehabilitation Project materials is set to end 4 p.m. FRIDAY, June 30. Project planning will go into final design once the comment period closes.
The Delaware River Joint Toll Bridge Commission held two public open houses – one in New Hope and one in Lambertville – earlier this month. The informational display materials were then posted on the Commission website for purposes of raising public awareness and receiving comments from individuals who were unable to attend the open house sessions.
The open house information materials included a project fact sheet and more than a dozen display boards outlining and describing aspects of the envisioned project that will largely take place in 2024. The project webpage may be accessed at: http://www.drjtbc.org/project/newhopelambertville
The webpage has a form that people can fill out and submit comment online. The public also may provide comment through the Commission website’s contact portal — http://www.drjtbc.org/contact or by sending an email to CommunityAffairs@drjtbc.org. (Note: anonymous comments are not considered.)
The uploaded open house display boards include general existing conditions, planned major project tasks, an updated project schedule, anticipated travel restrictions, an eastbound traffic detour, the sequencing of work stages, and information about a programmable LED lighting system that would highlight the bridge’s architectural profile along the river.
Besides the architectural lighting system, the bridge’s rehabilitation is expected to include the following major tasks:
- Removal of the current walkway panels and replacement with skid-resistant foam-core fiber-reinforced-polymer panels;
- Cleaning and repainting of the bridge’s steel-truss superstructure;
- Repair or replacement of various deteriorated or compromised steel components;
- Upgrade roadway and walkway lighting to an energy-efficient LED system;
- Replace electrical wiring and connections; and
- Update the bridge’s security camera system and install up to two additional walkway cameras.
Anticipated travel impacts in 2024 include a shutdown of the bridge walkway from early January to early-to-mid April; an uninterrupted closure to New Jersey-bound traffic from early January to late May; and weekday closures of the bridge’s New Jersey-bound travel lane from June through September. The project is expected to reach completion in fall 2024. (Note: The Commission cannot rule out that short-duration closures of the bridge’s two travel lanes might be necessary at some points during the rehabilitation.)
The Commission is attempting to stage the project in a manner that would impact westbound (Pennsylvania-bound) vehicular travel across the bridge only as a last resort. (Tolls are collected in the Pennsylvania-bound direction at the next closest river crossing – the New Hope-Lambertville [Route 202] Toll Bridge – roughly one mile upstream. Class 1 passenger vehicle tolls at that bridge will be $1.50 for E-ZPass and $3 for cash transactions at that bridge in 2024. Toll rates are higher for larger vehicles.)
Eastbound (New Jersey-bound) motorists affected by project-related travel restrictions will have toll-free access in that direction across the nearby toll bridge. The recently released materials include a detour plan for such motorists.
The aging steel-truss bridge connecting the New Hope and Lambertville commercial centers was last rehabilitated in 2004.
The functionally obsolete bridge superstructure has a four-ton weight limit, a 10-foot height restriction, and a 15-MPH speed limit. It carried an average of 12,400 vehicles per day in 2022.
The bridge was constructed for the former New Hope Delaware Bridge Company in 1904, replacing a wooden covered bridge that was destroyed in the “Pumpkin Flood” of October 1903. The steel truss replacement bridge initially operated as a private tolled crossing for 15-1/2 years. The bridge has been publicly owned and operated as a non-tolled crossing since early 1920. The Commission has owned the bridge since July 1, 1987. The Commission uses a share of toll proceeds collected at its eight toll bridges to operate and maintain the bridge and 11 other aging “toll-supported” bridges along the river.
About the Commission
The Delaware River Joint Toll Bridge Commission was formed statutorily by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and the State of New Jersey in 1934 and Congress ratified the arrangement under the Compact Clause of U.S. Constitution in August 1935. The agency operates eight toll bridges and 12 toll-supported bridges, two of which are pedestrian-only spans. The Commission is a self-supporting public-service agency that receives neither federal nor state tax dollars to finance its projects or operations. Funding for the operations, maintenance and upkeep of its bridges and related transportation facilities is solely derived from revenues collected at its toll bridges. The Commission’s jurisdiction extends along the Delaware River from the Philadelphia-Bucks County line north to the New Jersey/New York border. More than 128.1 million cars and trucks crossed Commission bridges in 2022. For more information, please go to: www.drjtbc.org.