Government Transportation

Details On Shuttle Service For Bridge Walkway Closure Announced

The bridge will be open to traffic, but the pedestrian walkway will be closed.

A dragon boat travels the Delaware River in New Hope Borough.
Credit: Tom Sofield/

Officials from the Delaware River Joint Toll Bridge Commission on Friday announced information on when the temporary shuttle service will operate when the New Hope-Lambertville Toll-Supported Bridge’s walkway closes in early 2024.

The commission, as part of a project to rehabilitate the bridge, will close the walkway across the bridge for the first four months of 2024.

There is no announced closure date for the walkway, but the commission said more details will be released in December.

The shuttle will not cost those who use it, and it will operate at hours the commission has found are of heaviest use for the bridge.

The shuttle will stop in New Hope Borough and in the City of Lambertville. Both stops are in the area of the bridge.

Commission officials said the time between the pickup and drop-off locations is 15 minutes. The shuttles will use the New Hope-Lambertville (Route 202) Toll Bridge to cross.

The planned closure of the walkway has drawn some concerns from residents and business owners on both sides of the Delaware River.

The commission released the below information on the shuttle service:

  • New Hope loading/unloading stop: on the northbound side of North Main Street near the building that houses the PNC Bank and Starbucks Coffee.
  • Lambertville loading/unloading stop: the Pennsylvania-bound side of Bridge Street in the general area of the former Black River and Western Railroad crossing.
  • Operating hours Sundays to Thursdays: 7 a.m. to 11 p.m. – two shuttles in service with one starting in New Hope at 7 a.m. and the other starting at 7 a.m. in Lambertville.
  • Operating hours Fridays and Saturdays: 7 a.m. to 11 p.m. – two shuttles in service with one starting in New Hope at 7 a.m. and the other starting at 7 a.m. in Lambertville; 11 p.m. to 2 a.m. (next day) – one shuttle in service to handle hospitality-sector patrons in the two municipalities.
  • Vehicles: Two-axle minibuses with maximum seating capacities for 20 passengers and racks for two bicycles.  Each minibus also is capable of loading and transporting disabled people in wheelchairs. Each vehicle can be configured to carry up to four wheelchairs, with a corresponding reduction of four passenger seats for each wheelchair. Four wheelchairs – an unlikely occurrence — would leave eight standard passenger seats available for a trip between the two towns.)
  • Operations: Shuttles are to cycle back and forth between the towns, loading and unloading passengers at the respective stop in each town. Aside from the start and end times, there is not a set arrival/departure schedule; service would be first-come first-served at a shuttle stop.
  • Route: Each minibus exceeds the 4-ton gross vehicle weight restriction on the New Hope-Lambertville Toll-Supported Bridge, the free crossing linking the riverfront towns’ commercial centers.  For this reason, the shuttle must travel across the toll bridge immediately north of New Hope and Lambertville.
  • Signage: The two designated shuttle stops will be marked with signs in English and Spanish.  Bi-lingual signs or banners also will be displayed at the bridge’s walkway approaches, directing the public to that side’s respective shuttle pickup point.
  • Public awareness: The Commission plans to distribute flyers and handout cards, and place posters at select locations.  These materials will be in English and Spanish. Some advertising also will be undertaken. Other periodic communications, like this press release, will be periodically issued when warranted.
  • Inclement weather: The shuttle will not operate if a governor declares a state of emergency affecting either New Hope or Lambertville.
  • Adjustments: The Delaware River Joint Toll Bridge Commission, at its sole discretion, may alter the extent of service as warranted based on actual usage trends.
  • Duration of service:  Shuttle operation will begin when the walkway is shut down. Service will end when the walkway reopens. Specific start and end dates for the service can’t be determined at this time.  The Commission has yet to award a construction contract.  Once a contract is awarded, the project contractor will need time to map out its work plan and set a firm date for the walkway shutdown.   The end date for the service won’t be determined until the walkway-replacement and painting work on the bridge’s downstream side nears completion in the spring.

The commission plans to begin the rehabilitation project for the bridge in the new year. Among the improvements will be replacing the current fiberglass panels that make up the walkway.

According to the commission, the current panels are aging and will be replaced with slip-resistant foam-core fiber-reinforced-polymer (FRP) molded panels. The new panels are promised to be quieter when pedestrians walk on them.

The Pennsylvania and New Jersey border on the bridge. File photo.

The project will also remove the present railing, ship it off-site to be redone, and then they will be reinstalled. The galvanized-steel cantilevered supports will be repainted and rust will be removed.

Below is more information from the commission:

The walkway work and downstream painting is scheduled to take place as the project’s first major construction stage: This work is purposefully staged to take place during the earliest months of the new year when cold temperatures, elevated wind speeds, and potential storms annually reduce walkway use significantly.  The walkway is expected to reopen in time for the Shad Fest in Lambertville, the city’s major street fair –  The walkway annually sees its highest usage during that annual event.

Project Scope

The bridge walkway work is just one facet of the 9-1/2-month-long bridge rehabilitation project.  Other significant project tasks include:

  • Cleaning and repainting of the bridge’s steel-truss superstructure;
  • Repair or replacement of various deteriorated or compromised steel components;
  • Upgrade roadway and walkway lighting to an energy-efficient LED system;
  • Install a programmable color-changing LED lighting system to highlight the bridge’s Pratt-truss architectural profile;
  • Replace electrical wiring and connections; and
  • Update the bridge’s security camera system and install up to two additional walkway cameras.

Vehicular Travel Impacts

Contrary to erroneous published reports, the bridge is not expected to be completely closed during the project.  The bridge will remain open to westbound (Pennsylvania-bound) traffic for the project’s duration, which is expected to reach substantial completion in mid-September. The uninterrupted flow of westbound (Pennsylvania-bound) traffic is intended to prevent the bridge’s motorists from being forced to use the nearby toll bridge, where tolls are collected in the westbound direction only.

Eastbound traffic at the free bridge will be detoured to the free direction at the nearby toll bridge for a long portion of the project – Detour signage will begin at two locations: the intersection of Route 202 north and West Bridge Street (PA Route 179) immediately west of New Hope in Solebury Township, PA., and at the intersection of Bridge and Main streets in New Hope.

From early January to late May, the eastbound traffic detour will be uninterrupted.  By Memorial Day weekend, construction activities are expected to advance to a point where the bridge can be reopened to two-way traffic on a weekends-only basis for the remainder of the project –   All traffic impacts are expected to end in September.  The project, including final punch list work, is anticipated to reach full completion in October.

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