Friday, November 13, 2009

Rt 1. bridge project complete...

Now it's the Calhoun St. bridges turn for rehab.

$102-million Morrisville-Trenton Bridge project complete

By Petra Chesner Schlatter

MORRISVILLE -- About 30 people attended the re-dedication of the Morrisville-Trenton Bridge Thursday. Despite the rain, the event took place in a tent outside the administration offices of the Delaware River Joint Toll Bridge Commission in Morrisville Borough.

The $102-million rehabilitation and widening project has many benefits for some Morrisville Borough residents, according to Nancy Sherlock, president of the Morrisville Borough Council.

Residents on Moreau Street will have a “respite,” she said, referring to the effect the noise walls will have on the neighborhood. The long continuous noise wall extends from Pennsylvania Avenue to the river on Route 1.

“It also provides a little relief on borough roads,” Sherlock noted.

George Alexandridis, chief engineer of the bridge project, said this was “the largest project the commission has undertaken.”

“We’ve reduced congestion,” Alexandridis said. Before the project, traffic would back up heading into New Jersey. The addition of a new auxiliary lane has adjusted that.

Project manager Chris Harney said he feels “very excited” about the project’s completion.

“George and I put in a lot of effort on a personal level,” he said. “It was done at the highest level possible.”

Harney noted this bridge is one of 20 other structures that have undergone rehabilitation, including spans connecting Pennsylvania to New Jersey points including Frenchtown, Phillipsburg, Stockton, Lambertville and Trenton.

The Morrisville-Trenton Bridge marks the halfway point in a $1-billion capital improvement program.

Now that the Morrisville toll bridge work is completed, the commission’s next project will include work on the Scudder Falls Bridge. Harney said that project would probably cost more than this one.

Harney estimated the cost would be between $200 million and $250 million.

Another area project will be the Calhoun Street Bridge.

Haney noted that the commission completed a rehabilitation project in 2005 on the famous "Trenton Makes, the World Takes" sign. A new, more stable neon sign was installed. In 1997, major repairs were completed to make the bridge more structurally safe,

Mobilization for the recent toll bridge project began Nov. 27, 2006. The project was conducted in three stages, with the bridge remaining open to traffic throughout the entire duration of construction activities.

Included in the rehabilitation were:

the widening of the bridge to accommodate a north-board auxiliary lane heading into Trenton;
reconstructing the Route 1 pavement on the Pennsylvania and New Jersey entrance;
adding noise walls on the north bound side of Route 1 in Morrisville. The walls were at the request of local residents.
modifying the interchanges on South Pennsylvania Avenue in Morrisville to make it safer for drivers exiting Route 1 onto Pennsylvania Avenue.

The bridge was the first post-World War II modern highway bridge and the first steel multi-girder bridge constructed by the Delaware River Joint Toll Bridge Commission. The bridge originally opened to traffic on Dec. 1, 1952. A daily average of 49,900 vehicles travelled across the bridge in 2008.

About the Commission

The Delaware River Joint Toll Bridge Commission was formed by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and the State of New Jersey in 1934. It operates seven toll bridges and 13 toll-supported bridges, two of which are pedestrian-only spans.

The Commission’s jurisdiction extends along the Delaware River from the Philadelphia-Bucks County line north to the New Jersey-New York border. The bridges carried more than 140 million cars and trucks in 2008.

For more information about the commission, visit