EASTON, PA. – The Delaware River Joint Toll Bridge Commission today announced that oversized vehicles and permit loads will be barred from using the Easton-Phillipsburg (Route 22) Toll Bridge once a multi-faceted rehabilitation project gets underway at the busy river crossing next week.
Additionally, the Commission is urging truckers to avoid driving through the project area altogether because of anticipated travel delays, traffic congestion, and the project area’s tight roadway geometry.
Once work gets underway – currently set for Monday, June 17 — travel on the toll bridge and nearby portions of Route 22 will be reduced from two lanes in each direction to single lanes in each direction for 15 of the next 18 months (from mid-June to mid-December this year and from March to December in 2014).
These single lanes will have 10-foot widths on the toll bridge. Additionally, there will be short, narrow lane crossovers on Route 22 well in advance and after the toll bridge. These geometric conditions will make truck steering difficult and should have a slow-down effect on traffic.
As result of these conditions, truck passage in the project area will be strictly restricted to what is legally allowed without a special permit: 8-foot 6-inch vehicular width, 13-foot 6-inch vehicular height, 60-foot lengths, and maximum 80,000-pound loads.
The limitations have been transmitted to truck permit issuance offices in New Jersey and Pennsylvania. Also, the Commission is sending an alert to trucking organizations and trucking media outlets.
The Commission is warning truckers and shippers to take heed of the traffic situation that is about to develop in the vicinity of the Route 22 toll bridge once project set-up activities get underway . Project engineers anticipate there will be severe backups along Route 22 – especially during peak commuting periods — increased traffic congestion on local streets in the Easton and Phillipsburg, and travel delays for commuters and commercial shippers.
Truckers are being urged to plan ahead by rescheduling travel to off-peak periods or using I-78 as a time-saving travel alternative. The Commission has committed to having three lanes in each direction open along its I-78 segments in New Jersey and Pennsylvania to handle anticipated peak-period overflow traffic from Route 22 once the toll bridge rehabilitation project gets underway on June 17. A paving improvement project the Commission has been conducting along its 2.25-mile segment of I-78 is currently winding down with remaining single-lane traffic periods largely limited to off-peak overnight hours.
The nearby three-lane 19th-century Northampton Street Bridge (“the free bridge”) between Easton and Phillipsburg is not recommended as a viable travel option because it already is heavily congested at peak travel times. Also, the bridge’s 3-ton posted weight restriction does not allow for passage of commercial trucks and buses.
A project-specific webpage with more information may be accessed directly at: www.drjtbc.org/tollbridgerehab