The four-lane Delaware River Bridge is jointly owned by the PA Turnpike Commission and New Jersey Turnpike Authority; it carries Interstate 276 over the Delaware River. The 1.2-mile-long bridge opened to traffic on May 23, 1956. Today, it carries more than 42,000 vehicles per day, combined eastbound and westbound traffic.
The bridge stabilization work that was completed Jan. 22 involved adding new plates to reconnect the fractured truss pieces to prevent further movement. A sample of the fractured truss has been taken to a lab at Lehigh University for forensic analysis to help determine the cause of the fracture.
The next step in the stabilization of the structure involves the construction of eight towers on the ground beneath the bridge. The towers will support the weight of the structure temporarily. Jacks will be used to lift the structure back into its original position.
A comprehensive bridge analysis will be performed to better understand the global impact the fracture has had on the entire bridge; information gathered is critical to determine the scope of and strategy for a permanent repair and reopening the bridge to traffic. The bridge will be under constant watch and monitored around the clock. Sensors will be installed to enable engineers to monitor the load at key points on the structure. High-definition TV cameras will be installed to monitor the structure for any movement. Tests will be conducted to determine the cause of the fracture and to assure that the rest of the structure is sound.
The Delaware River Bridge opened to traffic in May of 1956. The structure is a combination of girder – floorbeam spans, continuous deck truss spans and through-arch truss spans. In addition to spanning the main channel of the Delaware River, the bridge also spans over SR 0013 (Bristol Pike), AMTRAK (6 lines) and three local roads (Radcliffe Street, Palmer Avenue, and Wood Street) on the Pennsylvania side and over River Road on the New Jersey side.
Total Length – 6571 ft
Total Width – 80 ft
Total Height – 80 ft over land; 100 ft over water
The middle of Span 19 is the dividing line for the ownership between PTC and NJTA.
Repair – PA Turnpike Rehabilitation History
||Description or Work
||Cost of Work
||Deck Joint Replacement and other Rehab Work
||$ 5 M
||Yearly Deck Repairs
||~ $ 0.5 M per year
||Deck Replacement/Steel Repairs/Gusset Connections
||$ 19 M
||Major rehabilitation and upgrades of the entire bridge including seismic retrofits, structural steel repairs, installation of security gates, hardening of arch truss chords, replacement of suspenders, installation of cameras and security gates and bridge painting
||$ 61 M
||Total: $ 90 M
NJTA has also performed similar type repairs and replacements to their side of the bridge at approximately the same costs. Over$180 million worth of structure repairs and replacements have been performed on this bridge since 1970.
The Delaware River Bridge is inspected in-depth every two years. NJTA manages the inspection contracts. The cost of each in-depth inspection is approximately $400,000 and that cost is shared equally between the PTC and NJTA.