PHILLIPSBURG, N.J. – Construction activities are expected to get fully underway next week on a roughly three-month-long slope stabilization and rock-fall mitigation project along the exit ramp that carries traffic from Route 22 east to Main and Broad streets in Phillipsburg, N.J., the Delaware River Joint Toll Bridge Commission announced today.
The project will address a variety of hazardous conditions along Commission-owned portions of the steep slope that runs adjacent to the exit ramp (first New Jersey exit) east of the Easton-Phillipsburg (Route 22) Toll Bridge. A major element of the project will be the installation of a two-tier rock-fall catchment system along the length of the rocky, wooded slope.
To safely execute the early stages of work activities, the project contractor will need to close the exit ramp during off-peak daytime hours beginning Monday, February 29. Daily off-peak travel-time ramp closures are expected to remain in place for the first two weeks of the project when the contractor will be removing fallen tree trunks, dying or precarious trees, loose rocks, debris and old, ineffective chain link fencing from the hillside.
A signed detour will be in effect during ramp closure periods. Under the detour, motorists would go to the South Hillcrest Blvd. ramp accessing from the Route 22 eastbound left lane and then taking Route 22 westbound to the Memorial Parkway exit to Main Street (last exit in New Jersey).
Daily ramp closures and corresponding detours are not expected to be needed after the initial site preparation work is completed and the project shifts to actual slope stabilization and hazard mitigation work, notably the installation of upper and lower catch fences along the slope. This containment system will consist of high-capacity steel components and wire mesh. Each run of catch fencing will be anchored into the slope and reinforced with support cables.
The containment system – the largest cost driver of the $1.1 million project — is designed to protect motorist safety from being compromised by the threat of rocks and trees tumbling onto the exit ramp.
The project will be carried out under a competitively bid contract awarded to Merco of NJ, Inc. of Lebanon, N.J. in November 2015.