MORRISVILLE, PA – The Delaware River Joint Toll Bridge Commission today announced that a series of updates have been made to the Web site for the I-95/Scudder Falls Bridge Improvement Project, including an outline of the Commission’s Recommended Preferred Alternative for the project.
“The Web site was updated in recent weeks to provide the public with an expanded view of what the Commission’s project team considers to be the best approach for replacing the Scudder Falls Bridge, widening the I-95 approach roadways, and improving nearby interchanges,” said DRJTBC Executive Director Frank G. McCartney. “While many of the details have been presented to the public previously, this update provides the public with a concise consolidated outline of the Commission’s Recommended Preferred Alternative for the project.”
The draft Environmental Assessment (EA) the Commission prepared for the project is currently undergoing review by the departments of transportation in New Jersey and Pennsylvania and the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA). The draft document also is being 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 is the agency ultimately responsible for reviewing the EA and determining whether it is acceptable and may be distributed for public examination and comment during a 30-day comment period that would include an Open House/Public Hearing.
Announcements about the availability of the EA and details about the Open House/Public Hearing will be made through the project Web site, a newsletter to project stakeholders, and local media outlets.
McCartney noted that the Commission and its project consultants examined a wide variety of improvement options for each of the four segments of the I-95/Scudder Falls project. All of the options were aired at open houses, municipal meetings and stakeholder group sessions.
The Commission’s Recommended Preferred Alternative consists of the following:
- Widen I-95 in Pennsylvania from PA 332 to the inside by adding one travel lane in each direction through utilization of the current grass median along that roadway stretch.
- Reconfigure the Taylorsville Road Interchange in Lower Makefield Twp., Pa. by eliminating the existing eastern southbound off-ramp from I-95 and combining it with the existing western southbound off-ramp. All other existing ramps at the interchange — the northbound off-ramp, the two northbound on-ramps, and the southbound on-ramp — would be retained with minor alignment modifications. This segment option also includes a variety of other improvements, including modifications to I-95 acceleration and deceleration lanes to improve traffic safety and flow in the interchange area.
- Replace the existing outdated four-lane Scudder Falls Bridge with an entirely new structure on the upstream side with overlapping of the current bridge footprint. The new structure would have five lanes northbound (three for through traffic and two for auxiliary entry/exit travel) and four travel lanes southbound (three for through traffic and one for auxiliary entry/exit). The recommended option also calls for full inside and outside roadway shoulders. The addition of a bicycle and pedestrian facility on the southbound side of the bridge is being considered; a decision will be made during final design, when costs are refined and cost reasonableness can be determined.
- Reconstruct and reconfigure the Route 29 interchange through the use of roundabouts. This option would avoid traffic signals, resulting in a folded diamond interchange with two roundabout intersections at the ramps with I-95. Bypasses for NJ Route 29 northbound and southbound traffic would be retained and improved acceleration and deceleration lanes will be provided on to I-95. The stop-sign at the southbound I-95 on-ramp will be eliminated as will the existing I-95 on-ramp from NJ Route 175 (Upper River Road).
Besides the Recommended Preferred Alternative, the updated project Web site provides overviews of the current EA process, project noise-mitigation plans, and public involvement efforts. The updates constitute the most sweeping changes to the project Web site in over a year.
The DRJTBC originally unveiled the Web site along with a project hotline telephone number – 1-800-879-0849 — in October 2003.
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 141 million cars and trucks in 2007. 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.