NEW HOPE, PA – The Delaware River Joint Toll Bridge Commission (DRJTBC) today awarded a construction contract to make a series of needed repairs to the Riverton-Belvidere Toll-Supported Bridge’s 112-year-old steel-truss superstructure linking Warren County, N.J. and Northampton County, PA.
The repairs are needed, in part, because of added stress caused over the years by overweight truck violations, which occur more frequently at this location than at any of the Commission’s other river crossings.
Entitled the Riverton-Belvidere Toll-Supported Bridge Critical Member Strengthening Project, the undertaking will involve gusset plate connection repairs, repair of lower chord members, and end post repairs. The project will also include slope stabilization improvements on both sides of the two-lane truss bridge, which connects the Martins Creek-Belvidere Highway in the Riverton section of Lower Mount Bethel Township, PA., with Water Street in the Town of Belvidere, N.J.
In 2014, the Commission conducted a bridge monitoring system study and analysis of the Riverton-Belvidere span and other select vehicular river crossings. During the project, a variety of sensor technologies were placed on the bridge. Those sensors enabled the Commission to capture, log and analyze how the bridge carries and distributes loads and how excessive loads affect the bridge’s structural integrity.
The results of the study provided the Commission with a better understanding of how overweight vehicles affect the crossing, as well as confirm the need for this project aimed at strengthening the bridge’s critical members.
“This investment in the Riverton-Belvidere crossing is a reflection of the Commission’s ongoing commitment to proactively addressing our transportation infrastructure,” said Joseph J. Resta, the Commission’s executive director. “This project also underscores why the Commission has weight restrictions on so many of its aging small-volume truss spans. A superstructure like the one at Riverton-Belvidere was constructed in the early 1900s before the advent of mass-produced automobiles. It wasn’t built to handle the weights of some of the larger trucks that are in existence today.”
Voting at their monthly meeting today, Commission members from New Jersey and Pennsylvania approved the contract award to the lowest responsible bidder — Road-Con, Inc. of West Chester, PA for a not-to-exceed amount of $708,707.00.
The project is tentatively scheduled to begin in September and will be completed over an estimated four months. Because of the type of construction work being performed on the bridge, some single lane closures requiring flagging operation will likely be required. The Commission will provide a schedule of expected lane closures once construction activities commence.
The current steel-truss bridge at this location was constructed in 1904, replacing a previous wooden bridge – the second timber structure at the location – that was washed away in the “Pumpkin Flood” of October 10, 1903.
The first wooden bridge at this location was a privately owned covered, wooden structure that opened as a tolled crossing in 1836.
The current bridge has an 8-ton posted weight limit and carried a daily average of 4,400 vehicles last year.