Tolls coming for I-95 Scudder Falls Bridge

December 22, 2009 At $310-million, replacing the Scudder Falls Bridge is the biggest project the Delaware River Joint Toll Bridge Commission has ever undertaken. But a new bridge will also mean that drivers will have to pay to cross it and they're not happy with that.

The Bridge Commission says it will eventually begin charging a 75-cent toll to cross it. That money will finance the replacement of the aging I-95 Scudder Falls Bridge that spans the Delaware River between Ewing, New Jersey and Lower Makefield, Pennsylvania.

"We feel like it's only fair and equitable that the folks that are using that bridge ought to help pay for it," said Frank McCartney, executive director of DRJTBC.

The $310-million project will widen the 4 lane bridge to 3 lanes in each direction and reconfigure the entrance and exit ramps on both sides including roundabouts in New Jersey to avoid installing traffic lights.

The bridge was built in the late 1950s and officials say it can't handle the 58,000 vehicles that use it every day, a number expected to jump 35% over the next 20 years.

"It was not designed for the level of traffic usage it's getting today so the new bridge will be much safer and be able to handle huge volumes of traffic."

Fed up drivers say they want a new bridge.

"It's always a zoo but in the morning and the night it's really bad and the traffic is unbelievable," said Wendy Maltese of Lambertville, New Jersey.

But some object to the idea of tolls. A cashless electronic EZPass system will be used. Hi- tech cameras will record the plates of those who don't have an EZ Pass transponder and mail them a bill.

"I think they need a new one, expand it, yes. I don't think they should put a toll road on it," said Rodney Biegenwald of Bristol, Bucks County.

"It's always been free. It should always be free. It's an interstate highway. Interstate highways should not be a toll road," said Aubrey Branham of Pennington, New Jersey.

Public hearings on the bridge proposal will be held next month. Construction is expected to begin sometime in 2011.

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