SCUDDER FALLS – The five ramp closures and corresponding detours that were scheduled to begin early Wednesday at the flanking interchanges in the area of the Scudder Falls Toll Bridge’s first completed span have been POSTPONED.
The previously announced travel restrictions are now rescheduled to begin during the afternoon on Friday, July 26, weather permitting.
The delay in implementation of the ramp closures became necessary after the recent heat wave wreaked havoc with weekend paving efforts along the I-295 New Jersey-bound approach lanes to the new Scudder Falls Toll Bridge’s first completed span.
The new bridge has been handling only Pennsylvania-bound I-295 traffic since its opening during late-night hours on July 9. New Jersey-bound I-295 traffic has since crossed the river on the old, “functionally obsolete” Scudder Falls Bridge. It will now continue to cross on the old for an additional two days.
New Jersey-bound I-295 traffic was expected to be shifted onto the new bridge during early morning hours of Wednesday, July 24. However, requisite paving work in the vicinity of the new bridge could not be performed this past weekend as originally planned. Excessively high temperatures thwarted the ability to apply multiple base asphalt layers and have them cool sufficiently before subsequent finish-asphalt layers could be applied.
As a result, the project contract will now need an additional two days to complete the necessary paving work and other preparatory activities before New Jersey-bound I-295 traffic can be shifted off the old bridge and onto the newly completed replacement span.
Accordingly, five corresponding ramp closures that were to go into effect with the shift of New Jersey-bound I-295 traffic also are postponed.
The five ramp closures break down as follows:
- At the I-295/Taylorsville Road interchange (New Hope-Yardley, Exit 10) in Pennsylvania, three ramps will close for three weeks (rescheduled to end by Aug. 17):
- The I-295 EB off-ramp to Taylorsville Road;
- The Taylorsville Road southbound entry ramp to I-295 EB/SB immediately before the old Scudder Falls Bridge; and
- The Taylorsville Road northbound entry ramp to I-295 EB/SB immediately before the old Scudder Falls Bridge.
- On the bridge’s New Jersey side, two ramps will close:
- At the I-295/Route 29 interchange (Exit 76), the off-ramp to Route 29 immediately after crossing the new bridge from Pennsylvania into New Jersey will close for three weeks (rescheduled to end by Aug. 17); and
- The entry ramp to I-295 SB at nearby NJ Route 175/River Road, the entrance ramp to I-295 SB will be shut down for at least a year. (Note: This ramp closure was previously expected to begin July 15, but was postponed.)
The four three-week long ramp closures/detours will enable construction crews to extend those ramps out to the new temporary I-295 alignment in the vicinity of the newly opened Scudder Falls Toll Bridge’s completed upstream span.
Posted detours will be put into effect to steer affected motorists onto alternative routes for entering or exiting I-295 EB in Pennsylvania or accessing Route 29 on the bridge’s New Jersey side.
The new highway alignment will allow for demolition of the former 60-year-old Scudder Falls Bridge and construction of a second replacement span, which would open to traffic in either late 2020 or early 2021.
The plan is to dismantle the old bridge in sections, including its masonry piers down to the bottom of the riverbed. As sections of the old bridge get removed, construction crews would then begin building the second replacement span – much of it within the old bridge’s footprint.
The second new bridge at Scudder Falls is expected to open to traffic in either late 2020 or early 2021. Another transitional period will then get underway to complete the final stage of the 4-1/2-year-long regional-transportation project. Final project completion is expected in fall 2021.
The aforementioned scheduled ramp closures and detours are subject to change due to weather, emergency, traffic, and equipment/materials mobilization considerations. Motorists are urged to allow extra time to reach their destinations, reduce speeds and exercise caution when travelling through project work areas.