update November 26, 2014:
Single-lane travel restrictions were lifted this morning along both directions of Route 22 in the immediate vicinity of the Easton-Phillipsburg Toll Bridge, the Delaware River Joint Toll Bridge Commission announced today.
Additionally, the last remaining round-the-clock ramp closure near the toll bridge also came to an end, once again enabling motorists on Route 611/Larry Holmes Drive to access Route 22 eastbound immediately before the toll bridge in downtown Easton.
These travel restrictions had been in place in one form or another since March. They originally were expected to remain in place until mid-December as part of the 2014 stage for a comprehensive two-year rehabilitation of the 76-year-old toll bridge and adjoining facilities along Route 22. But a recent warming trend enabled the project's contractor to complete a series of critical tasks, allowing a return to two-lane travel at the toll bridge three weeks ahead of schedule.
The only project-related travel restriction still in effect on a 24/7 basis is along Route 22 east between 13th Street and 4th Street in Easton. This uninterrupted single-lane pattern is expected to remain in place for another 7 to 10 days. This lane closure will allow for completion of a series of project tasks, including installations of raised pavement markings along Route 22.
The Bridge Commission's executive director, Joseph J. Resta, called today's earlier-than-anticipated lifting of lane and ramp closures a "pleasant Thanksgiving surprise."
"It appears that Christmas has come early for the motorists who use this bridge on a regular basis," Resta said. "The elimination of travel restrictions in the immediate vicinity of the toll bridge is three weeks ahead of the original schedule."
Resta gave credit to the project's lead contractor - J.D. Eckman, Inc. - and the toll bridge's customer base for helping to achieve an early end to the project's most onerous round-the-clock travel restrictions.
"There were few instances of outright traffic gridlock and only a minimum of accidents for a project of this duration and complexity," said Resta. "We especially want to thank our customers for the patience and understanding they exhibited while the project's various round-the-clock lane and ramp closures were in effect."
The progress of construction activities for the project's 2014 work stage had moved so far ahead of schedule in late October that the Commission held out the possibility of ending traffic restrictions before Thanksgiving. But a protracted spell of unseasonably cold temperatures in mid-November appeared to have dashed those prospects. The tables turned, however, when warm weather returned early this week, enabling the project's contractor to complete a series of weather-sensitive tasks that allowed the bridge's roadway to be fully reopened.
The Commission currently projects that it should be able to lift the one remaining 24/7 lane closure along Route 22 eastbound in Easton on or before Dec. 5.
Meanwhile, only intermittent short-duration, off-peak lane and ramp closures may be needed to complete a variety of remaining project tasks. Construction-related activities are expected to continue into spring 2015, the project's final completion target date.
More information on the Easton-Phillipsburg (Route 22) Toll Bridge Rehabilitation Project is available at www.drjtbc.org/tollbridgerehab. To enhance communication with the public, the Commission also has established a toll-free question/comment line - 1-855-FIX-SPAN, a Twitter handle - @22tollbridge, and a project-specific email address - firstname.lastname@example.org.
update November 3, 2014:
The Delaware River Joint Toll Bridge Commission today announced that Route 22 motorists may encounter brief traffic slowdowns this evening as construction crews remove concrete barriers from the work for the Easton-Phillipsburg Toll Bridge Rehabilitation Project.
Traffic slowdowns are scheduled to be utilized in both the eastbound and westbound directions during overnight hours -- 7 p.m. to 5 a.m.
While single-lane travel patterns and related ramp closures will remain in place along Route 22 after the concrete barriers are removed, project-area demobilization is another indication of how the massive two-year project continues to progress ahead of schedule.
The project passed the 90-percent completed mark in late October. A firm revised date for reaching "substantial completion" is expected to be announced later this month. For motorists, the declaration means that uninterrupted, long-term travel restrictions will no longer be necessary. After that point, only daytime off-peak lane or ramp closures should be necessary. All project work remains on track to reach final completion in the spring.
update October 30, 2014:
The Delaware River Joint Toll Bridge Commission today announced that the Easton-Phillipsburg Toll Bridge Rehabilitation Project is now 90 percent completed and round-the-clock travel restrictions through the work area could end before the Thanksgiving holiday weekend.
The last major project task - construction of the center section of a replacement approach bridge that carries Route 22 across Route 611 in Easton - should be completed within the next 10 days, weather permitting. The project's focus will then shift to final work tasks, punch-list items, and demobilization activities such as removal of temporary concrete roadway barriers.
"If the weather cooperates, this project stands a good chance of reaching substantial completion well before the original target of mid-December," said Joseph J. Resta, the Commission's executive director. "We're now at a juncture where we should be able to cease round-the-clock lane and ramp closures before the annual Thanksgiving travel weekend."
A firm revised date for reaching "substantial completion" will be announced in November. For motorists, the declaration means that uninterrupted, long-term travel restrictions will no longer be necessary. After that point, only daytime off-peak lane or ramp closures should be necessary. All project work remains on track to be track to reach final completion in the spring.