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Released: 7/2/2012 

Stage Four of Walt Whitman Bridge Construction Begins on July 12

New Traffic Pattern:  Three Lanes in Each Direction;

Extra Lane Open for July 4 Weekend

Phase Four of the Walt Whitman Bridge re-decking project will begin on July 12 with a new traffic pattern:  Three lanes open to motor vehicle traffic in each direction until Phase Five begins in late October.

During most of the Fourth of July holiday week – which will run from Saturday, June 30 until Sunday July 8 – the Delaware River Port Authority will open all seven bridge lanes (four into Philadelphia and three into New Jersey) to traffic.* 

“The gap between phases of construction afforded us an opportunity to open the whole bridge to traffic during a busy holiday week.” said DRPA Chief Engineer Michael Venuto. “We appreciate our customers’ patience during a long and sometimes inconvenient construction project.”
 
Eastbound wide loads, banned during Phase Three, may again cross the bridge.  During peak traffic periods, drivers are encouraged to consider using either the Commodore Barry Bridge or the Ben Franklin Bridge. 

The redecking project includes the removal of the suspended span, installation of a new lightweight grid deck, structural improvements, new parapets and a new steel-shell movable barrier.  Almost 55 years old, the Walt Whitman Bridge first opened to traffic on May 16, 1957.  In 2010, motor vehicles crossed the bridge about 39 million times.

The deck removal and replacement project began in August 2011 and is expected to be completed in the summer of 2014.  It is the second largest capital improvement project ever undertaken by the DRPA.  Two contracts totaling $139,774,286.67 to re-deck the Walt Whitman Bridge and monitor construction of the project were awarded by the DRPA Board of Commissioners in May of 2010.

Project updates are posted on a dedicated website, www.deckthewalt.com, and may also be heard on the Walt Whitman Bridge traffic advisory radio station at 530 AM. 

*A few daytime lane closures will take place during Fourth of July week:  On Monday, July 2, two eastbound lanes and three westbound lanes will be open to traffic from 9:30 a.m. until 2:30 p.m.  On Friday, July 6, three lanes will be open in each direction from 9:30 a.m. until 2:30 p.m. 

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The Delaware River Port Authority is a regional transportation agency that connects millions of people and businesses in Pennsylvania and New Jersey.  The DRPA owns and operates the PATCO commuter rail line and the Benjamin Franklin, Walt Whitman, Commodore Barry and Betsy Ross toll bridges.  The DRPA also owns the RiverLink Ferry.


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