Without notice or fanfare, the 58th anniversary of the opening of the Scudder Falls (I-295) Bridge occurred June 22, There was nothing to celebrate – it was the bridge’s final anniversary.
The bridge, long classified as functionally obsolete, is slated to undergo dismantling section-by-section. After traffic patterns change to two-way on the first span around July 24.
A replacement bridge with two separate spans has been under construction and the first completed span of that new bridge is expected to open to traffic on the morning of July 10.
The new bridge will operate as a crossing with tolls in the Pennsylvania-bound direction, starting several days after the bridge opens to traffic. Tolls will be assessed at highway speeds via a cashless all-electronic tolling (AET) gantry outfitted with E-ZPass transponder readers and high-resolution cameras for license-plate billing through the U.S. mail.
The base passenger vehicle tolls will be $1.25 for E-ZPass customers and $2.60 for Toll By Plate motorists without E-ZPass. The Delaware River Joint Toll Bridge Commission (DRJTBC) is urging the bridge’s users to acquire E-ZPass.
A series of lane closures, traffic shifts, and interchange ramp openings and ramp detours will be implemented over a five-week period to bring the first completed span of the new toll bridge and adjoining I-295 approaches into temporary alignment.
The phased-in plan to open the new bridge – initially carrying only Pennsylvania-bound traffic – will impact I-295 commuters and motorists using the bridge’s flanking interchanges in Pennsylvania and New Jersey.
Weather permitting, the transitional-period schedule will be implemented according to the fillowing schedule:
July 8-11 – I-295 NB Approaching the Scudder Falls Bridge in New Jersey Restricted to Single Lane 24/7
Starting 6 a.m. Monday, July 8, and continuing until about 2 p.m. Thursday, July 11, I-295 NB (toward PA) will be reduced from three travel lanes to a single lane in the vicinity of the County Route 579/Bear Tavern Road interchange (Exit 75).
The four-day single-lane pattern is needed for a “high-intensity construction cycle” (HICC) that will build the roadway crossover along I-295 northbound to the new bridge. Affected commuters are advised to use the nearby Trenton-Morrisville (Route 1) Toll Bridge as an alternate route during this critical period.
July 10 – First completed span of the new Scudder Falls Toll Bridge opens.
The opening is contingent on the successful completion of the HICC work near the Bear Tavern Road/CR-579 interchange. The new bridge will carry two-lanes of Pa.-bound traffic. The two-corresponding lanes of New Jersey-bound traffic will remain on the old bridge. Pa.-bound motorists may travel across the new bridge free of charge for the first four days it is open to traffic.
July 10 – All Closed Ramps at I-295/Route 29 Interchange (Exit 76 in NJ) and I-295/Taylorsville Road Interchange reopen.
In New Jersey, the affected ramps have been closed for 20 weeks, allowing work crews to install a new roundabout, retaining walls, drainage, and a series of new ramps. Also, at this time in Pennsylvania, the Taylorsville Road access ramp to I-295 WB toward Newtown and Philadelphia will reopen after a six-week reconstruction closure/detour.
July 14 – Tolling Begins in PA-Bound Direction on the New Scudder Falls Toll Bridge.
Early in the morning of Sunday, July 14 – at a second after midnight – the new All-Electronic Tolling (AET) gantry on the Pennsylvania side of the new Scudder Falls Toll Bridge will go live. Cash will not be accepted (no toll booths.) Vehicles will not stop.
July 15 – NJ Route 175/River Road on-ramp to I-295 SB closes for a year.
Prior to the morning peak-commuting period, the I-295 NB on-ramp from NJ Route 175/River Road in Ewing, N.J. will be shut down for approximately a year. Affected motorists seeking to access at I-295 SB at this location are advised to use the I-295 SB access ramp off the downstream roundabout at the nearby I-295-Route 29 interchange (Exit 76).
July 24 – New Jersey-bound I-295 Traffic Lanes Get Shifted into new pattern across the Scudder Fall Toll Bridge.
During early morning hours, the two New Jersey-bound direction lanes of I-295 approaching the new bridge will be shifted into a new pattern and across the new upstream bridge span into New Jersey. A concrete center divider will separate the opposing directions of traffic across the new bridge. While the NJ-bound traffic will initially travel under the new bridge’s AET gantry, the toll collection equipment above will be deactivated. The nearly 60-year-old Scudder Falls Bridge will be taken out of service at this time; demolition of the old bridge will get fully under way.