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news release

P.O. Box 600
Trenton, NJ

Contact: Joe Fiordaliso

RELEASE: August 9, 2004

NJDOT to begin construction on new Southard Street Bridge in Trenton


(Trenton) – New Jersey Department of Transportation (NJDOT) Commissioner Jack Lettiere joined State Senator Shirley K. Turner, County Executive Brian Hughes, Trenton Mayor Douglas Palmer, and representatives from U.S. Senator Jon Corzine and U.S. Rep. Chris Smith's offices today in a groundbreaking ceremony for the construction of a new $16 million Southard Street Bridge over Route 1 and the Conrail Railroad line in Trenton.   The federally funded project will replace the current bridge, which was built in 1921 and is obsolete by current standards and has decayed due to aging.


“Last year, we began the largest bridge rehabilitation program in the state's history.   We have funding for work on nearly 70 bridges throughout the state,” said Lettiere.   “This local project will restore a critical link in the City of Trenton.”

“Many of New Jersey's bridges like the Southard Street Bridge need immediate help from the federal government. Hundreds of these structures will have to be repaired or replaced in the next few years, but the future of the bill authorizing funding for projects like this remains in question,” said U.S. Senator Frank Lautenberg in a statement.  “The Bush administration needs to step up to the plate and provide the resources necessary to bring New Jersey's bridges up to speed and safe for use.”

"I am delighted that this transportation project is moving forward. Federal support for such projects is vital to easing traffic congestion and facilitating economic development in the region. I look forward to working with my colleagues in the New Jersey Congressional delegation to ensure that our state continues to receive needed transportation resources,” noted U.S. Rep. Rush Holt in a statement.

The new bridge will be built to current national standards. It will carry two 12” lanes of traffic with 8” shoulders and 6” sidewalks on both sides. Both approaches will be reconstructed and realigned for improved access to the bridge.   The three-span steel plate girder structure of the bridge totals 373” in length.   The bridge's vertical clearance over the railroad and the highway will also be increased.

Several pieces of the bridge's history will be preserved by the D&R Canal Commission and some will be used on the new bridge.   The two boxes on the existing structure that directed the canal boats will be housed in the D&R Canal museum.   Abutment stones will be salvaged for use as veneer facing on the new concrete abutments and two plaques incorporated into the original structure will be removed and remounted on the new bridge parapet.   The new bridge will have antique style lighting, arched cutouts to mimic the original structure's railing and other historic aesthetics features.

The bridge will not be closed to vehicle traffic until a pedestrian bridge is fully constructed.   By late fall, the pedestrian bridge is expected to be ready and at that time the bridge will be closed vehicle traffic.

During the construction of the new bridge, northbound traffic will be detoured onto left onto Perry Street, right onto Montgomery Street then right onto Brunswick Avenue to reconnect with Southard Street.   Southbound traffic will be detoured to Princeton Avenue then to North Olden Avenue, right onto North Clinton Avenue and right onto Perry Street to reconnect with Southard Street.

Temporary shielding will be constructed over Route 1 to allow for a minimum of 2 lanes of traffic to remain open on Route 1 throughout most of the construction stage.   NJDOT hopes to have all lanes of traffic open on Route 1 during peak driving hours. Temporary 15 minute full closures of Route 1 may be necessary between the hours of 11 p.m. and 4 a.m. on weekdays.

Scoping work for the project started in 2000.   The construction contract was awarded in May to Neshaminy Contractors, Inc.   The bridge should be opened to traffic by late 2005 with construction completed in June 2006.


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  Department of Transportation
  P.O. Box 600
  Trenton, NJ 08625-0600
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  Last Updated:  August 9, 2004