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News

Released: 8/21/2013 

Walt Whitman Bridge to Close on Aug. 27 and Aug. 28 between Midnight and 4 a.m.



The Walt Whitman Bridge will be closed to all traffic on Tuesday, Aug. 27 and Wednesday, Aug. 28 between midnight and 4 a.m. so construction crews can install four new overhead sign gantries and remove three yellow gantry cranes used to re-deck the bridge roadway.

The DRPA will begin closing bridge on-ramps at about 11 p.m. on Monday, Aug. 26 and again at the same time on Tuesday night.   In the event of rain or high winds, a postponed bridge closure will take place on the following clear-weather night.  No bridge closures will be scheduled during Labor Day weekend.

“After studying several alternatives, we concluded that closing the Walt Whitman Bridge late at night would create the least customer inconvenience,” said DRPA Chief Engineer Michael Venuto.  “We encourage motorists to use the Commodore Barry Bridge, the Benjamin Franklin Bridge or the PATCO Hi-Speed Line after midnight on Aug. 27 and Aug. 28.”

“We thank our customers for their patience and understanding throughout the course of this project,” Venuto said.  “Although a two-night closure might disrupt some traffic, it signals the approaching end of the re-decking project.  Seven-lane traffic flow across the Walt Whitman Bridge is just around the corner.”

Gantry-crane removal is one of the final steps in the multi-year, $140 million re-decking project, which is expected to end in December.  In April, the re-decking project entered its seventh and final stage of construction six months ahead of schedule. 

Early in the re-decking project American Bridge installed three yellow gantry cranes.  The 90-foot-wide, 70,000-pound cranes stand 20 feet above the bridge roadway and can lift loads as heavy as 15 tons.  American Bridge used the cranes to remove old deck slabs and supporting girders and to install new ones.   Crews will remove the cranes while the bridge is closed.

The four new overhead sign gantries will support directional signs, speed-limit signs, lane-use signals and warning signs used to direct motorists safely across the bridge.  The Walt Whitman Bridge is equipped with 10 overhead sign gantries.

The seven-phase re-decking project has included removal of the suspended span, installation of a lightweight grid deck, structural improvements, new parapets and a new steel-shell movable barrier.  More than 56 years old, the Walt Whitman Bridge first opened to traffic on May 16, 1957.  In 2012, motor vehicles crossed the bridge about 37 million times.

The deck removal and replacement project 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 also may be heard on the Walt Whitman Bridge traffic advisory radio station at 530 AM.
    
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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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