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Upgrades Under Way at Scenic 1920s-Era Toll Bridge Over Delaware River

Wed July 01, 2020 - National Edition

The existing bridge, opened to traffic in 1927, is a six-span, riveted steel Warren truss structure with a total length of 825 ft.
The existing bridge, opened to traffic in 1927, is a six-span, riveted steel Warren truss structure with a total length of 825 ft.

A seven-week-long project to make improvements to the 93-year-old Centre Bridge-Stockton Toll-Supported Bridge across the Delaware River is now under way.

The span, located north of metro Philadelphia, connects U.S. Route 32 in Solebury Township, Pa., to U.S. Route 29 in Stockton, N.J.

Motorists, pedestrians and bicyclists who use the scenic bridge could be impacted by construction activities in the vicinity of the river crossing, the Delaware River Joint Toll Bridge Commission (DRJTBC) said prior to the work's start on June 22.

Contractors are making repairs and improvements to approach roadways, curbs and sidewalks near three dual-lane steel-truss spans linking Bucks County, Pa., and Hunterdon County, N.J.

Work at the bridge's Pennsylvania approaches is limited to daylight hours on weekdays, and is being staged to maintain public access with nearby businesses through construction. In July, the approach roadways at each end of the bridge are expected to undergo milling, repaving and restriping.

Motorists are likely to encounter brief traffic stoppages at the triangular intersection on the bridge's Pennsylvania approach. Also, repairs on the foundation of the staircase that connects the bridge's walkway with the Delaware Canal towpath (Pennsylvania side) is nearly complete.

The significant improvement activities and travel impacts for the Keystone State's side of the Centre Bridge-Stockton Toll bridge are as follows:

  • Replace six storm-water inlets with bicycle-safe grates
  • Replace and install curbs
  • Clean culvert and storm-water lines, inlets and drains within the commission's jurisdictional approaches at each end of the bridge
  • Extend a sidewalk on the Pennsylvania side
  • Mill and resurface the DRJTBC's asphalt approaches on both sides of the bridge, including around the triangular island on the Pennsylvania side.

For drivers, flaggers are alternating single-lane travel for vehicles approaching the bridge when construction and paving activities take place from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday.

Because of the closure of the steel staircase connecting the bridge's walkway with the underlying canal towpath in Pennsylvania, in the last full week of June, the scores of pedestrians and bicyclists that enjoy traversing the span had to use other toll-supported bridges to the north and south to cross between the two states.

The original Centre Bridge-Stockton Toll Supported Bridge, constructed at the site formerly known as Reading's Ferry, was opened to traffic in the spring of 1814. The covered wood bridge consisted of six spans, with latticed type trusses. In 1923, the old river bridge was destroyed by fire.

The existing bridge, opened to traffic in 1927, is a six-span, riveted steel Warren truss structure with a total length of 825 ft. The steel open-grate deck, added to the bridge in 1990, provides a clear roadway width of 20 ft. between three-beam railings. A 6 ft. timber-plank pedestrian sidewalk, also replaced in 1990, is supported on the downriver truss by steel cantilever brackets.

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