Get our newsletters
Guest Opinion

Oppose replacement of Washington Crossing Bridge


The recent news that the Delaware River Joint Toll Bridge Commission is considering replacing the Washington Crossing Bridge is very concerning. The unintended consequences a new modern bridge will have for the historic parks and the peaceful communities of Washington Crossing and Titusville need to be understood.

Yes, the bridge is old, and it’s narrow, and the pedestrian walkway needs widening. And, at first blush, it seems like a great idea to replace the bridge. However, the current bridge limits the volume and speed of the traffic entering the historic parks and allows the communities on either side to preserve their charm and historic character.

Arguably, the land on either side of the river is among the most historic and sacred ground in our country. Washington’s crossing and subsequent defeat of Hessian troops in Trenton was the turning point of the Revolutionary War. Had it not been for the brave men and women encamped there and led by General Washington on Christmas Day 1776, we may still be under British rule.

Replacing the bridge with one built to modern standards will forever impact this historic location and will be a disaster for the villages on either side of the river. Any modern bridge design will overpower the historic vista and significance of the parks and irreversibly change the character of the parks and villages.

A new bridge will likely be at least twice as wide and further encroach on fragile historic structures. Roadway realignment and widening and increased traffic volume and speed will threaten the structural integrity of the historic buildings immediately adjacent to the roadway, block access to the buildings, and overwhelm the village with passenger and heavy truck traffic. In my opinion, the village will see at least a doubling in traffic volume, including large heavy trucks. The canal bridges on both sides of the river, River Road and Taylorsville Road, and the intersections with General Washington Boulevard will all need to be widened and improved, further threatening the peaceful village and the historic character of the area.

I suggest the bridge commission abandon the vehicular bridge and turn it into a walking bridge and gateway connecting the two historic parks thereby preserving the historic significance of the area, improving pedestrian and bicycle traffic, and providing opportunities for passive recreation and tourism. Surely, the new Scudder Falls Bridge just 3.3 miles downstream could absorb the additional traffic.

There’s no need to spend mega-bucks on a new modern bridge. Converting the existing bridge to pedestrian use can be done at far less cost.

The commission says it is only “studying” the possibility and any new bridge is a long way off. But we all know what that will lead to. Once the commission becomes heavily invested financially and emotionally in a new bridge, we’ll have it in five years’ time. We need to show strong opposition before it gets to that point.

Joe Linus lives in Washington Crossing.

Join our readers whose generous donations are making it possible for you to read our news coverage. Help keep local journalism alive and our community strong. Donate today.