It is a major transportation facility in the Pennsylvania/New Jersey/New York Tri-State Region, connecting U.S. Route 206 in Montague, N.J. to US. Routes 6 and 209 at Milford, Pa. The bridge also serves an important regional economic function, serving a gateway function to the Pocono Mountains resorts of Pennsylvania and the Delaware Water Gap Recreation Area on both sides of the river in Pennsylvania and New Jersey.
Opened to traffic on December 30, 1953, the bridge is a 1,150-foot-long four-span continuous steel deck truss structure. It was selected as one of the 10 most beautiful steel bridges in the 26th annual (1953) national aesthetic bridge competition sponsored by the American Institute of Steel Construction. The judges noted that the bridge’s design “exhibits a fine sense of proportion and that the deck-type construction affords unlimited visibility in a scenic area which will be appreciated by the traveler.”
It is the only deck-truss bridge owned and operated by the Delaware River Joint Toll Bridge Commission. The two-lane bridge has a roadway width of 27-feet 6-inches, with a 4-foot pedestrian sidewalk attached to its upriver truss. A one-way toll plaza, located at the Pennsylvania approach, has three toll lanes. Tolls are collected in the westbound direction.
The bridge consists of 1,627 tons of structural steel and 7,402 cubic yards of concrete. Its deck towers above the Delaware River below. Its low point — on the Pennsylvania end — is 106 feet above the river’s normal low-water mark. The bridge deck’s altitude is 480 feet above mean sea level at Sandy Hook, N.J. The structure’s height was a ramification of the original 1950s design, which anticipated the construction of the proposed Tocks Island Dam and a corresponding 37-mile lake between New Jersey and Pennsylvania.
The Commission rehabilitated the bridge under a $19.1 million project that began in February 2008 and reached substantial completion shortly before Memorial Day in May 2009. The project consisted of the replacement of the bridge’s precast concrete deck panels; replacement of deteriorated supporting stringers and truss members; and blast-cleaning and painting of the entire steel superstructure. The project also included repairs or replacement of the Pennsylvania and New Jersey approaches, and installations of new signage installed on the bridge’s approaches.
The previous toll plaza was replaced with a new facility that has two new mixed-mode toll booths for processing both cash and E-ZPass electronic transactions, and an additional single lane to handle only E-ZPass customers.
Like other bridge rehabilitations the Commission conducted, the Milford-Montague project was undertaken to improve the bridge’s condition so that it can operate without the need for delay-causing repairs for at least another 15 years.