At two open houses this week in Solebury Township and the City of Lambertville, the Delaware River Joint Toll Bridge Commission detailed plans to rehabilitate the New Hope-Lambertville Toll-Supported Bridge.
The Delaware River Joint Toll Bridge Commission plans to remove the current walkway panels and replace them with new skid-resistant foam-core fiber-reinforced-polymer panels, clean and repaint the bridge’s steel-truss superstructure, repair or replace deteriorated or compromised steel components, upgrade lighting for the roadway and walkway to a new LED system, replace electrical wiring and connections, and update the bridge’s security cameras, and add two new walkway cameras. The LED lights would be programmable by the commission and can change colors.
The bridge commission said at the open houses that they expect a shutdown of the bridge walkway from early January to early-to-mid April 2024; 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 commission cannot rule out that short-duration closures of the bridge’s two travel lanes might be necessary at some points during the rehabilitation,” officials said.
Officials noted a full bridge closure is a “last resort.”
The commission plans to not have intensive work overnight and would provide shuttle service for pedestrians during the winter walkway closure.
The entire project is expected to wrap up in fall 2024.
In a statement, the commission released the following information on traffic impacts:
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.
Earlier this year, the commission hired engineering consulting firm GPI/Greenman Pederson, Inc., of Lebanon, New Jersey, to design the planned rehabilitation of the bridge.
The materials from the open houses have been added to the commission’s webpage for the project.
Following the open houses, the commission will accept public comment through 4 p.m. on June 30.
After the comment period ends on June 30, project planning by the commission will enter the final design stage.
The bridge that connects New Hope Borough to the City of Lambertville over the Delaware River happened in 2004.
The 1,055-foot-long and 27-foot-wide bridge has weight restrictions of four tons, a height restriction of 10 feet, and a 15 mph speed limit.
The span carried 12,400 vehicles daily on average last year, the commission said.
The bridge was built for the second version of the New Hope Delaware Bridge Company, which ran a tolled crossing for a little more than 15 years, including for pedestrians and bicycles. On December 31, 1919, the regional shareholder-owned bridge corporation agreed to a deal facilitated by the former Joint Commission for Elimination of Toll Bridges that saw it sell the bridge to the states of Pennsylvania and New Jersey for $225,000. Three days later, tolls were eliminated. On July 1st, 1987, the states transferred ownership of the bridge to the Delaware River Joint Toll Bridge Commission.