EWING, N.J. – The Delaware River Joint Toll Bridge Commission today announced that it is organizing a New Jersey-oriented open house and reforestation hearing for the Scudder Falls Bridge Replacement Project.
The dual events are scheduled to take place March 15 at the West Trenton Volunteer Fire Company Ballroom, 40 W. Upper Ferry Rd., West Trenton, N.J. The open house is scheduled for 4:30 p.m. to 6 p.m. It will be immediately followed by a public reforestation hearing from 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. at the same location. (Notes: West Trenton is a part of Ewing Township. Official Notice attached.)
An important element of the dual event will be planned project-related tree cutting work that is scheduled to get underway after October 1 in the vicinity of the bridge, its I-95 New Jersey approach, and the nearby Route 29 interchange.
The open house session will consist of a variety of viewing stations where the public may examine project concepts, renderings and information boards. A member of the project design/engineering team will be positioned at each viewing station to provide explanations and answer questions.
A video about the project also will be available for continuous viewing during the session. The video will consist of an introduction about why the current bridge needs to be replaced, a general outline of the bridge replacement project’s major construction elements, and an explanation of how the work will be staged to keep traffic moving across the river while construction takes place.
The New Jersey-focused open house is expected to include up to 20 display boards of project information and renderings. These will include:
- Timeline for design and construction
- Design and construction sequencing of the Scudder Falls Replacement Bridge
- The proposed layout of a redesigned Route 29/I-95 interchange in New Jersey
- New Jersey noise study areas and the anticipated designs and location of noise abatement walls to be installed as part of project in New Jersey
- Environmental mitigation
- Depiction of proposed New Jersey tree clearing and the corresponding compensatory reforestation plan
The open house will then be followed by a public hearing for the purpose of collecting comments on the anticipated New Jersey tree clearing work and the Commission’s reforestation plan to compensate for the loss of those trees.
The hearing will be conducted in accordance with New Jersey’s No Net Loss reforestation Act (NJSA 13:1L-14.1 et.seq.). The hearing will consist of a presentation on the New Jerseyoriented reforestation plan followed by a comment period for the public.
The session will be moderated by a hearing officer. All comments will be restricted to the proposed New Jersey tree cutting work and the corresponding reforestation plan. Verbal comments at the forum will be recorded by a court stenographer. Individuals also will have an opportunity to provide verbal testimony privately to a court stenographer. Written comments will be accepted at the forum and for 60 days after the hearing.
The event is the second project outreach session in the last three months. In early December, the Commission hosted a Pennsylvania-oriented open house in Yardley, PA. The primary objective of that session was the tree clearing activities that are currently underway along the Pennsylvania I-95 approach to the Scudder Falls Bridge. The tree cutting work is needed to clear a path for a series of noise-abatement walls that will be installed along portions of the roadway later this year.
Advance work for the bridge replacement project has stepped up over the course of the past year or so. The project entered final design in March 2015. Other activities conducted last year include aerial mapping, land surveying, utility line identification, and the collection of extensive ground core samples along the project’s affected I-95 highway corridor.
The Scudder Falls Bridge Replacement Project involves a heavily commuted 4.4-mile portion of the I-95 corridor extending from the Route 332/Yardley-Newtown Road interchange (Exit 49) in Bucks County, PA. and the Bear Tavern Road/Route 579 interchange (Exit 2) in Mercer County, N.J. The congestion-prone highway segment is a choke point for job-commuter traffic between Bucks County, PA and Central Jersey.
The nearly 55-year-old bridge and nearby interchanges are classified as functionally obsolete. To address recurring traffic safety and capacity problems at the bridge, its adjoining interchanges and I-95 approaches, the Commission is pursuing a comprehensive project for the highway segment. Project elements include:
- Replace the existing four-lane Scudder Falls Bridge with a twin-span structure carrying six lanes of through traffic (three in each direction), and three auxiliary lanes (two northbound, one southbound) for traffic merging on and off the bridge.
- Overhaul the accident-prone Route 29/175 interchange (Exit 1) on the New Jersey side.
- Reconfigure the New Hope-Yardley/Taylorsville Road interchange (Exit 51) in Lower Makefield, PA. to improve the safety and efficiency of the interchange.
- Make drainage upgrades and other improvements along the approach highway between the Route 29/175 interchange and Bear Tavern Road in New Jersey.
- Inside widening of the Pennsylvania I-95 approach between the Route 332 exit and the bridge by adding an additional lane and full shoulders in each direction.
- Provide a bicycle/pedestrian walkway alongside the main river bridge connecting the recreational canal paths on both sides of the river.
- Construct full inside and outside shoulders on both replacement bridge spans, a current highway standard requirement. (The bridge’s inside shoulders will be sized to allow for future bus rapid transit service.)
- Install an all-electronic toll (AET) gantry and related infrastructure in the southbound direction consisting of high-speed E-ZPass tag readers and video cameras for license-plate billing.
- Construct noise-abatement walls along the approach roadways leading to and from the bridge.
Full construction activities are expected to get underway in early 2017. The project is expected to take up to four years to complete. More precise construction start and end dates will be determined after final design work is completed later this year.
The Official Notice for the No Net Loss Public Reforestation Hearing is attached.
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 is a self-supporting public-service agency that receives neither federal nor state tax dollars to finance its projects or operations. Funding for the operations, maintenance and upkeep of its bridges and related transportation facilities is solely derived from revenues collected at its toll bridges. 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 about 138.2 million cars and trucks in 2014. For more information about the Commission and its various initiatives to deliver safer and more convenient travel for its customers, please see: www.drjtbc.org.
DELAWARE RIVER JOINT TOLL BRIDGE COMMISSION
Scudder Falls Bridge Replacement Project
NOTICE OF PUBLIC REFORESTATION HEARING
Township of Ewing, Mercer County, NJ
NOTICE IS HEREBY GIVEN that the Delaware River Joint Toll Bridge Commission (the “Commission”) will hold a Public Reforestation Hearing (the “Hearing”) for the purpose of collecting comments on New Jersey tree clearing work and the corresponding reforestation plan for the Scudder Falls Bridge Replacement Project (the “Project”). The Hearing will be conducted in accordance with New Jersey’s No Net Loss Reforestation Act (N.J.S.A. 13:1 L‐14.1 et. seq.).
The Hearing will be held from 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. on Tuesday, March 15, 2016 in the West Trenton Volunteer Fire Company Ballroom, 40 W. Upper Ferry Road, West Trenton, N.J. (Note: West Trenton is a section of Ewing Township, N.J. where planned project-related tree cutting work for the New Jersey side of the Project is to occur later this year.) Immediately prior to the Hearing, an informational Open House will be held from 4:30 p.m. to 6 p.m. The Open House will include displays and materials on the Scudder Falls Bridge Replacement Project and its New Jersey tree cutting/compensatory reforestation plan. Project team members and Commission staff will be in attendance to answer questions at the Open House. The Hearing will consist of a presentation on the New Jersey-oriented reforestation plan followed by a comment period for the public. The session will be moderated by a hearing officer. All comments will be restricted to the proposed New Jersey tree cutting work and the Commission’s plan to compensate for it. Verbal comments at the forum will be recorded by a court stenographer. Individuals also will have an opportunity to provide verbal testimony privately to a court stenographer. Written comments will be accepted at the forum and for sixty (60) days after the Hearing. Written comments should be addressed to:
Jodee Inscho, Director of Community Affairs
Delaware River Joint Toll Bridge Commission
2492 River Road, New Hope, PA 18938-9519
For more Project information, please visit www.scudderfallsbridge.com. Individuals also may call the project’s toll-free information line at (800) 879-0849.