LOWER MAKEFIELD, PA – The Scudder Falls Toll Bridge’s second parallel span and the flanking closed entry/exit ramps along I-295 EB/SB in Pennsylvania and New Jersey are scheduled to open between Tuesday and Wednesday of next week, the Delaware River Joint Toll Bridge Commission announced today.
As currently scheduled, the new bridge and flanking closed interchange ramps (three in Pennsylvania and one in New Jersey) will be fully open to traffic by the start of the morning peak commuting period at 6 a.m. Wednesday, Aug. 18.
The project contractor had sought to begin the travel pattern transition process for the new bridge span on Monday, Aug. 16, but rain events the past two nights undermined that schedule by postponing applications of a polyester polymer concrete (PPC) wearing surface to the new bridge span’s road deck.
Weather permitting, the anticipated timeline of traffic shifts and construction activities to bring the new bridge online, reopen closed exit/entry ramps, and establish a new temporary project travel pattern on I-295 is as follows:
- 7 a.m. Tuesday, Aug. 17 – Preparatory paving and line striping work will take place in the area of the on-ramp from NJ Route 29 to I-295 SB on the New Jersey side of the Scudder Falls Bridge.
- 9 a.m. Tuesday, Aug. 17 – The on-ramp from NJ Route 29 to I-295 SB on the New Jersey side of Scudder Falls Bridge will be shut down for two hours, ending approximately 11 a.m.
- 11 a.m. Tuesday, Aug. 17 – I-295 in the New Jersey-bound direction (eastbound in Pennsylvania and southbound in New Jersey) will be reduced to a single lane to allow for a High-Intensity Construction Cycle (HICC) of uninterrupted work activities along the highway over the next 18 hours. During this period, workers will reset temporary roadway barriers, remove temporary highway lighting, install or reset permanent lighting, change signage, mill and pave highway and ramp transition areas, remove or obscure old pavement lines, and apply new pavement striping.
- 7 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 17 – Begin the process of switching I-295 New Jersey-bound traffic onto the new bridge span and reopen the I-295 off-ramp to Route 29 immediately after crossing the Scudder Falls Bridge into New Jersey. (This is one of four ramps that have been closed near the bridge since July 12.)
- 8 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 17 – Switch New Jersey-bound traffic onto the newly completed downstream bridge span and begin reopening the three Yardley-side ramps at the I-295/Taylorsville Road interchange (Exit 10) that have been closed since July 12. I-295 EB in Pennsylvania and I-295 SB in New Jersey will continue to remain in a single-lane travel pattern at this time.
- 8 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 17 to 5 a.m. Wednesday, Aug. 18 – The reopening of ramps closed ramps will be completed along with the remainder of HICC work, including grading, milling and paving, installation of temporary work zone barriers and other roadway safety measures, and roadway striping.
- 4 a.m. to 6 a.m. Wednesday, Aug. 18 – Lane closures along I-295 in Pennsylvania and across the Scudder Falls Bridge’s new second span into New Jersey are removed, allowing for two thru-traffic lanes in each direction and access to/from all ramps at the I-295/Taylorsville Road interchange (Exit 10) in Pennsylvania and the I-295/Route 29 interchange (Exit 76) in New Jersey.
- 6 a.m. Wednesday, Aug. 18 — At this point, the newly opened second bridge span (downstream) will operate with two thru-traffic lanes and one auxiliary lane to handle decelerating, accelerating on traffic at the interchange ramps at both ends of the bridge. Likewise, the current bridge span (upstream) will have two thru-traffic lanes and one auxiliary lane for traffic entering I-295 NB and the bridge from Route 29 in New Jersey. The open lanes will all be to the right side of each bridge structure. This will allow for a cordoned work zone along the center section of I-295 through the project area during the coming months.
The new travel pattern of two through lanes with an additional auxiliary lane on each bridge is scheduled to remain in place for up to four months while the Scudder Falls Bridge Replacement Project’s third and final stage of construction activities take place. This will largely involve roadwork and drainage improvements on the New Jersey side of the bridge. The shared-use pedestrian/bicycle facility also is expected to be completed during this period as well as final transitional improvements along I-295 and final paving and striping through the project area.
Additional travel restrictions to complete the project will be needed sometime after Labor Day. These will largely involve ramp closures in the area of the I-295/Route 29 interchange (Exit 76) on the New Jersey side of the bridge. More information, including duration and detours, on these travel restrictions is expected to be made available in early September.
Overall, the project remains on track to reach substantial completion by the end of December. This is when the final travel configuration can be implemented with I-295 having three travel lanes in each direction on the bridge’s approaches in New Jersey and Pennsylvania. The completed dual-span bridge, meanwhile, will have three thru-travel lanes and dual shoulders both spans. The upstream span will have an additional auxiliary lane for Pennsylvania-bound traffic. The downstream span will have two auxiliary lanes for New Jersey-bound traffic. Final completion for the project’s remaining punch-list work is late May 2022.
Shared-Use Pedestrian/Bicycle Facility
The bridge’s shared-use pedestrian/bicycle facility and corresponding ramps in New Jersey and Pennsylvania will not open before the Labor Day weekend. The earliest possible opening would be sometime in the early fall. (Note: Under the construction contract, the contractor has until the project’s substantial completion deadline (mid-December) to complete the new facility, which is on the Scudder Falls Toll Bridge’s upstream span. The facility will connect with the towpaths for the Delaware Canal in Pennsylvania and the Delaware & Raritan Canal in New Jersey.
IMPORTANT NOTE – All dates, travel restrictions, and facility openings identified above are subject to change due to weather, emergencies, traffic, and equipment/materials availability.
Motorists are urged to allow extra time to reach their destinations, reduce speeds and exercise caution when travelling through project work areas.
More information on the Scudder Falls Bridge Replacement Project is available at www.scudderfallsbridge.com.