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Calhoun Street Bridge Rehabilitation

This project was completed on schedule and on budget on October 8, 2010.  The rehabilitated bridge was rededicated with a ceremony on October 12.  

A news article on the event is availble at http://www.nj.com/news/index.ssf/2010/10/calhoun_street_bridge_to_be_re.html.  The press release is available here.  The event program is available here.

Construction activities began in April 2010.  A four-month shutdown of the bridge to vehicular and pedestrian was utilized to allow contractors to conduct an extensive facelift of the 125-year-old wrought-iron structure.

It marked the first time the Commission employed an uninterrupted shutdown for a bridge rehabilitation project under the $1.1 billion Capital Improvement Program the agency initiated in 2001.

During the shutdown, the preponderance of Calhoun Street Bridge traffic gravitated toward the nearby Lower Trenton ("Trenton Makes") Toll-Supported Bridge nd the Trenton-Morrisville (Route 1) Toll Bridge farther to the south.


The bridge is the most heavily used vehicular two-lane truss structure in the Commission's system.  It carried an average of 18,400 vehicles per day in 2009.

To provide a means of two-way communications during the project, the Commission established a special toll-free project hotline.  Callers to the phone line could leave questions or comments they had regarding the project on the voicemail recorder. A response was provided within one business day to those who left a return number.

On February 22, 2010, the Commission awarded two contracts to carry out the rehabilitation project for this bridge.  The construction contractor was issued a notice to proceed on March 19 and immediately started taking bridge measurements for materials. Beginning April 14, weekday alternating lane restrictions were put into effect at the bridge to enable work crews to execute a series of preliminary measures, including the installation of a containment shield beneath the bridge to prevent debris from falling into the river once full-blown construction work gets underway.  The alternating lane closures ended with the bridge's complete shutdown on May 24.  The four-month shutdown ended 7:15 p.m. September 24, the promised date.

The use of a four-month uninterrupted round-the-clock closure was chosen for the bridge as a result of a public involvement program the Commission conducted during the spring and summer of 2009.  During that process, 77 percent of participating respondents said they favored an uninterrupted-closure as opposed to other options that would have lengthened the project's overall time frame, driven up costs exponentially, and raised the potential for unanticipated project delays.  Residents and business owners also urged the Commission to conduct its work during the warm-weather season, an accommodation the Commission also agreed to make.  (The Commission originally proposed to start the project's work early in 2010.)  A press release on the Commission's contract awards and May 24 project start date is available for viewing in the News & Travel section of this Web site.

The Calhoun Street Toll-Supported Bridge is the oldest of the 28 bridges (motor vehicle and pedestrian) that currently span the Delaware River between Pennsylvania and New Jersey.

Built in 1884, the bridge is a Phoenix Pratt truss with a total length of 1,274 feet -- the longest through-truss bridge in the Commission's 20-bridge inventory.

It is the only Commission bridge constructed completely of wrought iron.  Its iron components were produced by the same company that manufactured the internal iron work for the Washington Monument in our nation's capital.  The bridge also served for a period time as part of the Lincoln Highway, America's first transcontinental automobile route.  A large plaque attesting to the bridge's Lincoln Highway history is still attached to bridge and a photo is available for viewing on the bridge's information page.

While annual inspections showed the bridge's condition is sufficient to support its posted 3-ton load, examinations in years prior to the rehabilitation showed the bridge's condition was deteriorating.  Some portions of the bridge looked as if they had more rust than paint.  The support system for bridge deck was in poor condition.  Roadway stringers were deteriorating with extensive material losses, and some were so rusted through that they were literally falling in the river.  A majority of floor beams had rusted to the point that they were supported by timber blocking on the pier caps.  There was significant spalling and exposed rebar at piers and abutments.  Numerous vertical and diagonal truss members were bent or loose due to damage caused by floods or vehicular accidents.

To sum up the situation, the bridge needed a lot of TLC - the kind that only steelworkers, masons, painters and a host of other construction workers could provide.

As noted above, the Commission committed to undertaking the rehabilitation project on this span during the onset of warm weather in 2010.  (As it turned out, the summer of 2010 turned out to be one of the hottest on record in the Delaware Valley.)

The work included replacement of the superstructure's floor system, repairs of the iron truss, painting of the superstructure, repairs to the substructure and approach roadways, and improvements to the bridge rail and sidewalk safety features.  A fact sheet for the project may be viewed by clicking here.

The construction work was performed by Neshaminy Constructors, Inc. of Feasterville, PA.  The company was awarded a contract in the amount of $9,054,000.  Construction management and engineering oversight was performed by Hill International of Philadelphia, Pa., which was awarded a contract for an amount not-to-exceed $1,080,657.24.  Under the contract, construction activities will take place during two shifts -- total of up 16 hours per day -- Mondays through Saturdays.  If necessary, the contractor may request Commission permission to perform work on Sundays.

The Commission sought public input during the spring and early summer of 2009 on how it should schedule and stage the project.  This public-involvement process helped guide the project team in determining how to close the bridge to traffic and for what duration.

The public outreach on this project involved direct meetings with stakeholders (including elected officials, business owners and employees, residents, civic groups, and agencies), two open houses (one in Trenton and one in Morrisville), project updates on the Commission's Web site, and publicity through various media outlets.

In an effort to promote community awareness and involvement, the Commission decided to extend the period of time that the public could provide comment about the project and its respective construction duration options.

Some of the materials that were made available during the process may still be of interest to members of the public as the project progresses, such as the traffic detour.

The completed rehabilitation is improving travel for motorists and pedestrians while precluding major repairs and long-term lane closures for a minimum of 15 years.

The Commission has been preparing for the project since September 24, 2007, when the Commission awarded a contract with an engineering consulting firm to perform a structural analysis of the bridge.  The total program cost (studies, design, engineering, construction, public involvement, etc.) was roughly $11.4 million.  Ultimately, the project costs are covered by the tolls the Commission collects at its seven toll bridges.

The bridge is currently posted for a 3-ton weight limit, an 8-foot vertical clearance and a 15-mph speed limit.  In 2008, an average 18,400 trips were made across the bridge per day.

Members of the public who may have comments about the completed project are urged to contact:

Richard McClellan
Director of Community Affairs
(267) 790-1063

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