This project will address multiple deficiencies and issues cited in recent maintenance reports compiled in conjunction with the Commission’s annual bridge inspection reports.
The Delaware River Joint Toll Bridge Commission’s I-78 Toll Bridge jurisdiction includes an additional 6.5 miles of approach highway that traverses western Warren County, N.J. (4.2 miles) and eastern Northampton County, PA. (2.25 miles). Interspersed along this busy roadway segment are a series of bridges and overpasses that also are owned, operated and maintained by the Commission.
These bridge structures and the approach concrete slabs immediately flanking these structures are the primary focus of a multi-element project scheduled to be carried out between summer 2017 and fall 2018. The project will involve bridge approach slab replacements at eight bridge structures (relatively short-distance overpass/underpass type bridges), cleaning and painting at six bridge structures, and an assortment of other tasks, including restriping the Commission’s entire I-78 roadway segment.
Various lane closures and traffic shifts are needed to carry out this project and motorists could periodically encounter congestion and delays due to anticipated project-related travel restrictions. Travel restrictions began in late August 2017 and will continue — with the exception of a hiatus during the 2017-18 winter months — until late 2018.
The restrictions largely will involve protracted single-lane closures that will limit motorists to two travel lanes in a respective direction instead of the usual three travel lanes. However, there will be several weekends over the course of the project where the project contractor will need to restrict traffic along a respective direction of I-78 to a single-lane pattern instead of the normal three-lane configuration. These single-lane patterns will involve intensified 34-hour work periods (8 p.m. Fridays to 6 a.m. Sundays) over select weekends when vehicular volumes are lower. Despite the reduced traffic levels, severe backups and travel delays remain likely.
(The Commission plans to post periodic travel alerts on the homepage of this website to advise motorists of scheduled project-related travel restrictions. The NJ511 and PA511 travel alert systems also will be utilized as warranted.)
Construction activities are expected to begin in late July 2017. Initially, the contractor will conduct land surveys. Construction activities – along with corresponding travel impacts – are expected to get underway in August. Work will continue into December, when the project will go on a winter hiatus for the cold-weather months. Work activities are expected to ramp up again in the late winter/early spring and continue until project completion in fall 2018.
The I-78 Bridges and Approach Slabs Rehabilitation Project involves a seven-mile roadway segment (including the 1,222-foot-long I-78 Toll Bridge. Specific improvements and repairs include, but are not limited to following tasks:
The project construction contract was awarded April 24, 2017 to J.D. Eckman, Inc. of Atglen, PA for a not-to-exceed amount of $11,117,003.61.
A construction management/inspection services contract was awarded April 24, 2017 to Greenman-Pedersen Inc. of Lebanon, NJ for a not-to-exceed amount of $1,545,442.08. (Construction management involves oversight tasks like establishing and monitoring the project schedule and construction progress, reviewing shop drawing, and administering invoicing and payments. Construction inspection services include monitoring and overseeing specific areas of the project’s construction field activities. This work also will help ensure that the project’s construction and materials conform to the Commission’s plans and specifications.)
The I-78 Toll Bridge opened to traffic November 21, 1989. The bridge connects Williams Township, PA. with Phillipsburg, N.J. It is the most heavily travelled of the Commission’s 18 vehicular river crossings.
The bridge is one of the most heavily traveled interstate trucking routes in the United States, connecting North Jersey’s port facilities with the warehousing destinations of Pennsylvania’s Lehigh Valley. A total of 24,920,291 vehicles crossed the bridge (both directions) in 2016 – a daily average of roughly 68,100 crossings.
The bridge consists of twin-span structures; one carrying eastbound traffic and the other carrying westbound traffic. Each structure consists of seven spans. The superstructures are constructed of four welded steel plate girders with a 10-inch reinforced concrete decks. Girders are supported on Y-shaped reinforced concrete piers. Each bridge roadway is 48-feet wide, consisting of three 12-foot lanes flanked by four-foot-wide and eight-foot-wide shoulders.
In addition to the bridge, the Commission’s jurisdiction includes 2.25 miles of I-78 in Williams Township, PA. and 4.2 miles of I-78 spread across Phillipsburg, Alpha, Pohatcong and Greenwich Township, NJ.
Sharing the Road with Tractor Trailers
The Commission’s I-78 Toll Bridge has some of the highest truck volumes of any river crossing in the United States. About 6 million trucks traveled across the bridge in 2016. More than 75 percent of these trucks were five-axle tractor trailers (18 wheelers). Due to the heavy truck volumes and high speeds on this roadway segment, motorists are urged to view the following educational video about sharing the road with tractor trailers. The video is courtesy of the American Trucking Associations.
Driving in Construction Zones Video
The following 60-second video provides tips for driving safely in construction zones.