NEW HOPE, PA – The Delaware River Joint Toll Bridge Commission today announced that it will provide six project display stations and three means of taking public comments at this week’s dual-venue open house/public hearing on the 561-page Environmental Assessment document for the I-95/Scudder Falls Bridge Improvement Project.
The open house/public hearing will take place on successive dates at two locations:
- January 19, 2010, Villa Victory Academy, 376 Upper West Ferry Road, Ewing N.J. (The school is roughly at the intersection of West Ferry Road and Route 29.) Open house will be at 5 p.m., followed by the public hearing from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. or until all speakers have an opportunity to give testimony.
- January 20, 2010, Sheraton Bucks County Hotel (across from the Oxford Valley Mall) at 400 Oxford Valley Road, Langhorne, PA. (The hotel is across from the Oxford Valley Mall, situated between Route 1 and Business Route 1.) Open house will be at 5 p.m., followed by the public hearing from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m., or until all speakers have an opportunity to present testimony.
Each two-hour open house segment will consist of six project display stations, a verbalcomment station and a written-comment station. The display stations will address project background, the project’s four construction components, noise-abatement efforts, the right-of-way acquisition process, next steps for carrying out the project, and traffic comparisons – including a simulation of what future traffic flow will be once the project is completed and what vehicular traffic would be like in the future if the project does not take place. Relocation assistance information will be available at the right-of-way acquisition station; only one full residential-property purchase is required for the project.
Members of the project team will be available at each station to answer questions that the public may have about the display materials, the project and the Environmental Assessment. Questions from the public will only be taken at the open house segments and not during the public hearing segments.
The public may, however, provide comment during the open house segments by speaking to a stenographer at the verbal comment station, submitting written testimony to a stenographer or member of the project team, or by filling out one of the comment cards that will be available at the written comment station.
The public hearing portions at each location are to begin 7 p.m. These segments are scheduled to last until 9 p.m., but will go longer if more time is needed to handle all attendees wishing to provide testimony. The proceeding will be conducted by a moderator. A Commission representative will make a welcoming statement and a member of the project team will give a brief presentation about the project for any individuals who might have been unable to attend the open house. A stenographer will take a record of the proceedings. An additional stenographer will be available to take testimony from individuals who wish to submit verbal statements privately rather than in front of an audience.
Attendees wishing to provide verbal testimony would first need to register at the designated sign-in table. Elected officials will be called to the podium first. Additional speakers will be called to the podium in the order in which they registered.
Verbal testimony will be limited to five minutes as a matter of fairness so everyone may have an opportunity to speak. Written testimony also may be submitted to supplement verbal testimony or in place of verbal testimony. Comment cards will be available for this purpose. Individuals with written testimony should submit it at the stenographer’s table or hand it to a project staff person.
This public hearing segment is strictly for taking testimony. There will be no cross examinations, questioning or responses to any speaker either from the floor or the chair. The hearing is intended to be the public’s opportunity to be heard on the project and EA without interruption. This will enable a public record to be gathered on the effect of the proposed project action. The open house segment is designated as the program portion where questions may be posed.
After the open house/public hearing portion of the review process comes to a close on Wednesday night, motorists, residents, and other concerned parties who wish to provide comment may utilize one of the following options no later than the end of the comment period on February 4, 2010:
- E-mail – ScudderfallsbridgeEAcomments@hntb.com
- U.S. Mail – Send to Kevin Skeels, Senior Program Area Manager,
- DRJTBC, 110 Wood and Grove Streets, Morrisville, PA 19067.
The public hearing on the Environmental Assessment (EA)/Draft Section 4(f) Evaluation document is the next major step in a planning and review process that began in January 2003 with the signing of a project memorandum of agreement (MOA) by the Commission and the Pennsylvania and New Jersey Departments of Transportation. The MOA authorized the Commission to conduct environmental studies and preliminary designs to address congestion and safety problems at the bridge.
The project area extends 4.4 miles along I-95 – from the Route 332 interchange in Bucks County, Pa. to Bear Tavern Road in Mercer County, N.J. The work is to include a complete replacement of the existing four-lane Scudder Falls Bridge over the Delaware River. Project elements also would include reconfiguration of the Taylorsville Road Interchange and the reconstruction and reconfiguration of the Route 29 interchange through the use of roundabouts. The project also includes an inside widening of the highway on the Pennsylvania side of the bridge.
The easiest way for area residents, motorists or other interested parties to review the document is to go to the Web site – www.scudderfallsbridge.com — the Commission created in October 2003 to keep the public informed of project developments.
The Environmental Assessment (EA) the Commission prepared for the project underwent extensive review by the departments of transportation in New Jersey and Pennsylvania and the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA). The document also was reviewed by federal and state environmental resource and regulatory agencies with regard to project findings, assessments and mitigation for a number of environmental considerations within the project limits including historical and archeological resources, threatened and endangered species, and wetlands, among others.
The FHWA was the agency ultimately responsible for reviewing the EA and determining acceptability so that it may be distributed for public examination and comment during a comment period that would include an Open House/Public Hearing.
For more information, individuals should access the project Web site or call the project hotline telephone number – also established in October 2003 – at 1-800-879-0849.
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. Its bridges carried more than 140 million cars and trucks in 2008. For more information about the Commission and its various initiatives to deliver safer and more convenient bridge travel for its customers, please see: www.drjtbc.org.