Two lanes of the Delaware Memorial Bridge into New Jersey will be closed from early February through near the end of May for rehabilitating the 72-year-old bridge.
The Delaware River and Bay Authority, which owns and operates the bridge, warns drivers to expect delays, particularly during rush hour and peak weekend travel times.
Delays could be bad. A repainting project in June of 2021 led to a weekend backup that stretched seven miles on the bridge, Interstate 295 and Interstate 95, below the Route 1 interchange.
A third phase of the $71 million rehabilitation project is scheduled to start after Labor Day.
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Beginning at night on Feb. 1 and continuing through Feb. 4, construction crews will establish a bypass lane on the Delaware-bound span of the bridge.
The two left lanes heading to Delaware will be closed 9 p.m. to 6 a.m., with a third lane closed 10 p.m. to 6 a.m. for that work.
Once the bypass lane is created on the Delaware-bound span, work will shift to the side heading into New Jersey, and two left lanes into New Jersey “will be continuously closed until just before the Memorial Day holiday weekend,” the authority announced. The authority’s bridgealerts site gives May 25 as the day the work ends.
The third phase of the project involves the two right lanes heading into New Jersey, west of the suspended bridge midpoint. It’s scheduled to run Sept. 5 through Nov. 21.
What work on the Delaware Memorial Bridge involves
The project includes removal of the top 2 inches of the deck slabs and replacing the slabs with with an ultra high-performance concrete. The work also involves replacing transverse deck relief joints and expansion joints.
The bridge’s weekday traffic average is 40,000, with 55,000 on weekends, the authority said in 2021, when it set monthly records for June, July and September.
Construction of the bridge began in 1949, and it opened in 1951, replacing ferry service that once plied the Delaware River. Traffic became so heavy so quickly that a second, adjacent bridge was called for, with construction starting in 1964 and opening in 1968. The original span is the one heading into New Jersey.
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