Call or email: Director of Community Affairs Jodee Inscho
The Delaware River Joint Toll Bridge Commission is preparing to rehabilitate its 119-year-old New Hope-Lambertville Toll-Supported Bridge. The six-span steel Pratt-truss superstructure was last rehabilitated in 2004.
The current schedule is for project design to take place in 2023 followed by the execution of prescribed construction activities in 2024 — the 120th anniversary year of the bridge’s current steel superstructure.
Major anticipated project tasks include:
Because of the extent of work performed during the bridge’s 2004 rehabilitation project, the Commission anticipates that the duration and number of tasks involved in the 2024 project will be less extensive. However, the bridge’s walkway will need to be closed for a yet-to-be-determined period of time to allow for replacement work. The bridge’s vehicular travel lanes also will be affected in some yet-to-be-determined manner. More information on these matters won’t be available until preliminary design work advances during the course of spring 2023.
Open house sessions are expected to be held toward the end of spring to advise the public on details like travel impacts, sequencing of project tasks, and specific construction schedule dates. The public will be encouraged to ask questions and provide comment on the various materials presented at those open house events.
This webpage will be updated periodically as project planning advances in coming months. Periodic updating also will continue when the project goes into construction during 2024.
This project is currently in design. All of the following dates are tentative estimates (as of March 2023) and are subject to change:
The anticipated scope of work for this bridge rehabilitation is anticipated to include (as of March 2023):
Design Contract Work
The current six-span steel Pratt-truss New Hope-Lambertville Toll-Supported Bridge is the Commission’s fourth oldest superstructure. It opened to traffic in July 1904. The older superstructures are at Calhoun Street (1884), Northampton Street (1895-96), and Riegelsville (April 1904).
The bridge’s steel superstructure rests on abutments and piers believed to have been constructed in 1813 and modified after major floods in 1841 and 1903. The steel superstructure was designed by R. G. Develin, a Pennsylvania Railroad civil engineer, and constructed between April and August 1904 by Lewis F Shoemaker & Co. of Pottstown, PA. The bridge’s steel members were manufactured by the Cambria Steel Company in Johnstown, PA. The bridge was formally dedicated on Labor Day weekend 1904.
The bridge was constructed for the second incarnation of the New Hope Delaware Bridge Co., which operated it as a tolled crossing for its first 17 years. The local shareholder-owned bridge company sold its bridge to the states of Pennsylvania and New Jersey on December 31, 1919 for $225,000. The sale had been arranged by the former Joint Commission for Elimination of Toll Bridges — Pennsylvania-New Jersey, the predecessor agency to today’s Delaware River Joint Toll Bridge Commission.
The two states jointly owned the bridge for 67 years, annually paying the old Joint Commission and, later, the new Bridge Commission to operate and maintain the bridge. On July 1, 1987, the two states conveyed ownership of the bridge outright to the Bridge Commission under terms of a revised federal Compact that directed the Commission to operate and maintain the bridge — and 11 other bridges like it — with a share of the proceeds collected at the agency’s toll bridges.
The second bridge span from the Pennsylvania side sustained considerable damage in the historic river flood of August 19, 1955. The bridge was subsequently shut down to all but emergency vehicles for about five weeks while repairs were made. The bridge reopened to traffic September 22, 1955.
The bridge carried U.S. 202 across the Delaware River until 1971, when a four-lane toll bridge opened about a mile upstream. Even before the construction of the toll bridge, the aging truss bridge between New Hope and Lambertville had its weight limit reduced several times.
The bridge’s last rehabilitation in 2004 was significant. Major work items performed under the project included replacement of the floor system and deck; widening of the walkway to eight feet from the former six feet and installing a fiberglass walkway surface; superstructure and
substructure repairs; and cleaning and painting of the steel superstructure and bearings.
The bridge’s current posted weight restriction is 4 tons. The Commission posts bridge monitors at both ends of the structure to protect it from overweight vehicles. In 2022, 1,038 vehicles were denied entry onto the bridge and turned away by the stationed bridge monitors.
A total of 4,519,653 vehicular crossings were recorded at the bridge in 2022. That works out to an annual average of 12,400 vehicles per day.
The bridge has a 15 m.p.h. speed limit and 10-foot vertical clearance.
The Commission considers this bridge to be the most painted and photographed structure along the river, owing largely to its location between the arts-oriented communities of New Hope and Lambertville. The bridge also is believed to have the highest pedestrian usage counts of any crossing along the river.
Year constructed/opened: 1904
Structure type: Steel Pratt truss
Total length: 1055 feet (individual span lengths vary only slightly)
Width: 27 feet (outside truss)
Number of traffic lanes:
Total clear roadway width: 20 feet, 7 inches
Sidewalk width: 8 feet
Load posting: 4 tons
Vertical clearance on structure: 10-feet
FHWA classification: Functionally Obsolete
Last Rehabilitation: 2004
Last Painted: 2004
Flood Info (river reading levels in feet):
River Crossing Ownership
Bridge Roadway Drone Footage – Delawarey River Joint Toll Bridge Commission March 19, 2020 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H2P90BE-yHY
River View Drone Footage 1 – Delaware River Joint Toll Bridge Commission October 21, 2021 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=auGq2Jr8-qI
River View Drone Footage 2 – Delaware River Joint Toll Bridge Commission October 21, 2021 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZmscJ1LkbXk
Cambria Steel Company/Wikipedia Audio Article (major beams and girders of the New Hope-Lambertville Bridge were produced by the Cambria Steel Company)
The Story of the Cambria Iron Works (later renamed Cambria Steel Company)
Roadwaywiz, Westboud (YouTube) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U-re4x_6HeI
Roadwaywiz Eastbound (YouTube) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tEIsS7HgJ-A
Anchor House Ride 2013 – Part 3/John Hinton (YouTube) – New Hope-Lambertville segment begins at 13:18 mark https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qnGYYDb0HL4
New Hope Historical Society/John Weber 200th Anniversary Video (2014) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a0UVvps1ypc&t=49s
Bomboy, R. Scott Wooden Treasures; The Story of Bucks County’s Covered Bridges, Bridgetown Communications, 2022 (Print) 16-18, 19-20, 118-121
Dale, Frank T. Bridges over the Delaware River: A History of Crossings. Rutgers University Press, 2003 (Print), 21-28
Richman, Steven M. The Bridges of New Jersey: Portraits of Garden State Crossings. Rutgers University Press 2005 (Print) 58-59, 78-79
Shafer, Mary A. Devastation on the Delaware: Stories and Images of the Deadly Flood of 1955 Word Forge Books 2005 (Print) 80-81, 250, 268, 315, 329, 370, 420
Shank, P.E., William H. Historic Bridges of Pennsylvania. American Canal & Transportation Center Eighth Printing, Fourth Edition 2004 (Print) 8
Allen, Richard Sanders Covered Bridges of the Northeast. Dover Publications, Inc. 2004 (Print) 90-91
Mastrich, James; Warren, Yvonne; Kline, George; Lambertville and New Hope. Arcadia Publishing 1996 (Print) Sections One, Four, Six
Christianson, Justin & Marston, Christopher H.; Covered Bridges and the Birth of American Engineering. Historical American Engineering Record, National Park Service (Print) 105