Bidders solicited for new span
to be built aside the Driscoll Bridge
Transportation Commissioner Jamie Fox announced today that the New Jersey Highway Authority will begin soliciting bids today for construction of a new span to be built aside the Driscoll Bridge.
"This project has been the top transportation priority of this administration. There has never been a question of need only how to find suitable a way to fund the project,” Commissioner Fox said. “Under the leadership of Governor McGreevey we have forged an interagency agreement to move this crucial project forward and live up to our commitment to the motorists who use this bridge that it will be improved. We continue to honor our pledge.”
Fox said he believes the construction contract will be awarded by Labor Day.
In April, Governor McGreevey announced that an unprecedented agreement between the Highway Authority, which operates the Garden State Parkway, and New Jersey Turnpike Authority had been reached to fund the construction of a new bridge and to refurbish the Driscoll Bridge.
The Driscoll Bridge, spanning the Raritan River in Middlesex County, is used by nearly 80 million vehicles each year, with a quarter of those vehicles ultimately accessing the New Jersey Turnpike. Traffic surveys indicate Interchange 11 of the Turnpike is one of the major destinations for motorists using the Driscoll Bridge.
Currently, the Driscoll Bridge carries six narrow travel lanes northbound and southbound with no shoulders. The bridge, which opened to traffic in the 1950’s, carries the majority of all traffic across the Raritan River, is structurally deficient and functionally obsolete.
The bridge currently has fewer travel lanes than approach lanes, which is a prime cause of traffic congestion. When completed, a new span and rehabilitated span will carry eight full width travel lanes northbound, seven lanes southbound and shoulders in both directions.
The estimated cost of the project is $230 million. The proposed plan funds the engineering, mitigation, road access and construction of the new bridge, which will cost $175 million and be completed in 2005. Reconstruction of the existing bridge is estimated at $55 million and will be completed in 2009.