PHILLIPSBURG, NJ – The Delaware River Joint Toll Bridge Commission today warned I-78 westbound motorists to expect traffic congestion and travel delays between the hours of 5 a.m. and 1 p.m. next Monday and Tuesday – Dec. 23 and 24 – west of the interchange with U.S. Route 22 and NJ Routes 122 & 173 (Exit 3) in Warren County, N.J.

The roadway segment needs to be restricted to a single travel lane (two of three lanes closed) to allow for removal of damaged pavement and repaving and restriping.

The section of affected pavement – near mile marker 2.2 in Pohatcong Township – was damaged by a truck fire on December 4.  Firefighting foam had to be used to suppress the flames fed by the truck’s engine fuel.

The highway pavement where the fire occurred was damaged.  While the pavement section is safe for current use, its ability to withstand continuing traffic volumes and winter storms is uncertain; it is already wearing prematurely since the fire.

A contractor already hired by the Commission for such exigent or emergency purposes will remove the damaged pavement and repave the compromised road surface.  Sufficiently warm temperatures are scheduled for daytime hours on Monday and Tuesday, providing the Commission a window of time to get the pavement replacement completed before the region’s asphalt plants close for the winter months.

While peak traffic volumes are in the eastbound direction on I-78 during weekday mornings, westbound traffic begins to climb after 9 a.m. due to tractor trailers traveling from North Jersey’s port facilities to warehouses in Pennsylvania’s Lehigh Valley.  For this reason, the Commission is warning motorists to expect heavy backups and significant delays from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Monday and Tuesday.

Motorists should plan ahead.  The Commission urges drivers to consider using alternate routes, rescheduling their trips, or allowing extra time to reach their destinations if they plan to use the affected I-78 westbound segment while the pavement replacement work takes place.

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