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Agency picks firm for Washington Crossing bridge environmental review


The Delaware River Joint Toll Bridge Commission has hired HDR Engineering Inc., of Philadelphia, to take up an environmental review process that could help determine whether the 119-year-old Washington Crossing Toll-Supported Bridge should be replaced.

The contract cost is not to exceed $8.06 million, according to a release from DRJTBC, which stressed that proceeds from collections at its toll bridges — and not taxpayer dollars — would pay for HDR’s work.

“This environmental review will take years to complete,” read a statement attributed to DRJTBC Executive Director Joe Resta. “It’s a first step strictly limited to research and analysis. It does not authorize the hiring of a contractor and it certainly does not authorize design and construction of a new bridge.”

In accordance with the National Environmental Policy Act, the review will include preliminary engineering, environmental services, analysis of alternatives, public involvement and other services.

The DRJTBC has frequently characterized the 119-year-old bridge as “a bane to generations of motorists” and as being “operationally challenged.”

With its 15-foot-wide roadway, the two-lane Washington Crossing span is the narrowest of the commission’s 18 vehicle bridges. It is also weight restricted at three tons or less.

Word that replacing the span is one of the options the commission will consider has prompted Upper Makefield Township is mount a push to preserve the existing bridge by getting it, its surrounding structures and the Taylorsville section of the municipality listed on national historic registries.

The commission’s statement indicated that “the bridge’s historically significant location — between two state parks and where George Washington led a war-changing military crossing during harsh early-winter conditions on December 25, 1776 — also will be weighed.”

HDR Engineering Inc.’s work could take about 30 months to complete. That’d put the time frame for selecting a preferred option to address the bridge into 2027.

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