FRENCHTOWN, NJ – The informational display boards from two recent open houses on the 2025 Uhlerstown-Frenchtown Bridge Rehabilitation Project have been posted online. Motorists, area residents, and local business owners have until 4 p.m. July 12 to submit comments before project planning goes into the final design process.

The public comment period is an extension of the open houses the Delaware River Joint Toll Bridge Commission – the bridge’s owner and operator — hosted Monday in Tinicum Township, PA. (22 signed-in attendees) and Tuesday in Frenchtown, N.J. (46 signed-in attendees).

At those sessions, the Commission released an array of new informational materials – including a fact sheet and more than a dozen informational boards outlining and describing aspects of the envisioned 2025 project. These materials have been added to the project webpage the Commission established in May:

Individuals who were unable to attend the open house events can now review the materials and other project webpage content.  Online comment can be made through the comment form at the bottom of the project webpage or by sending an email to Important note: Anonymous comments shall not be included in the project comment-period record and will be discarded.

After the comment period closes on July 12, project planning will shift into the final design phase.

The newly uploaded open house materials include general existing conditions, planned major project tasks, an updated project timeline, traffic detours, the sequencing of two envisioned work stages, and information/renderings about new bridge roadway lighting, walkway lighting, and a programmable/dimmable color-enabled LED lighting system that would highlight the bridge’s architectural profile.

Besides the architectural lighting system, the bridge’s rehabilitation is expected to include the following major tasks:

  • Repairing various pieces of the bridge’s steel superstructure;
  • Cleaning and repainting the bridge’s steel superstructure and underlying bearings;
  • Widening of the bridge walkway from its current 3-foot, 9-inch width to new 5-feet-wide clearance;
  • Replacing the current concrete-filled steel-grate walkway surface with new anti-skid closed-cell-foam fiber-reinforced-polymer (FRP) panels and installing new railings;
  • Repairing the bridge’s abutments, piers, and retaining walls; and
  • Replacing the concrete at the bridge portals and reconditioning/relubricating the bridge bearings.

Anticipated travel impacts in 2025 include a shutdown of the bridge walkway from January to September (ideally reopening in time for Frenchtown’s annual Bastille Day events); an uninterrupted closure to Pennsylvania-bound traffic for the duration of project work activities; and intermittent overnight New Jersey-bound traffic closures for certain construction tasks requiring full bridge closures.

The project prioritizes New Jersey-bound crossings over Pennsylvania-bound crossings for two reasons:

  • The bridge’s heaviest concentrated travel periods are weekday mornings in the New Jersey-bound direction; and
  • Maintaining the flow of New Jersey-bound traffic as much as possible will mitigate the level of impacts to Frenchtown’s business district while bridge rehabilitation work takes place.

In all lane-closure instances, the posted detours would be via the Upper Black Eddy-Milford Toll-Supported Bridge 3.3 miles upstream.

The upcoming rehabilitation aims to put the bridge in a good state of condition and extend its service life so it will not need major repairs for another 15 years. The bridge’s current steel superstructure opened to traffic on October 10, 1931. It was last rehabilitated in 2001. The bridge links the Borough of Frenchtown in Hunterdon County, N.J. with the Uhlerstown section of Tinicum Township in Bucks County, PA.

The Commission in January awarded a $1.77 million contract with the engineering firm WSP USA to design the project. WSP is expected to complete final design work in the fall. Project construction could then be advertised for competitive bids and a contract award by the start of 2025. Project construction would then begin in early 2025 and reach completion later in the year.

The Uhlerstown-Frenchtown Toll-Supported Bridge is a six-span riveted steel Warren truss structure. The bridge’s original wooden road deck was replaced with a steel open-grate deck in 1949. The bridge is narrow, with a clear roadway width of 16-feet 6-inches curb to curb. A concrete-filled steel grating sidewalk is supported by the upriver truss on steel cantilever brackets.

The aging bridge has a 15-ton weight limit, a 12’-6” height restriction, and a 15 MPH speed limit.  It carried an average of 4,200 vehicles per day in 2023.

Note: A toll-supported bridge is free for the public’s use, but the cost of operating and maintaining the bridge is funded by a portion of the tolls the Commission collects at its eight toll bridges.

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