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Fifth Phase of Walt Whitman Bridge Re-decking Project
New Traffic Pattern: Four Lanes West During Morning Rush;
Three Lanes East During Evening Rush
Phase Five of the Walt Whitman Bridge re-decking project in process with a new traffic pattern: Four lanes open into Philadelphia and two into New Jersey during morning rush hour, three lanes in each direction during evening rush hour.
Since the beginning of Phase Four in mid-July, the center barrier could not be moved to create more than three lanes of traffic in each direction. In Phase V, the center barrier will be moved again as needed to allow for more flexible management of traffic flow.
“We want to thank our customers and other stakeholders for their patience over the last three months,” said DRPA Chief Engineer Michael Venuto. “Our most challenging phase of traffic control will be complete on Tuesday,” Venuto said. “Going forward, we will be able to use the movable barrier, and we can open four lanes of traffic for the morning rush hour.”
Venuto advised all drivers to be careful as they adjust to the new traffic pattern, which will feature a “cattle chute,” a traffic lane bounded by barriers. The area on which crews will be working during Phase Five will split traffic headed toward Philadelphia.
Venuto also advised that overweight and wide-load permit vehicles will be restricted from crossing the Walt Whitman Bridge in both directions. The restriction will remain in place until Phase Five ends in January.
The seven-phase 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.
During peak traffic periods, drivers are encouraged to consider using either the Commodore Barry Bridge or the Ben Franklin Bridge.
Project updates are posted on a dedicated website, www.deckthewalt.com, and also may be heard on the Walt Whitman Bridge traffic advisory radio station at 530 AM.
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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