The wheels have begun turning on a process that may result in the full replacement of a 119-year-old bridge that's been infuriating drivers for decades.

The Delaware River Joint Toll Bridge Commission announced on Wednesday that it's looking for a consulting team to conduct a review of the Washington Crossing Bridge, which connects Mercer County with Pennsylvania.

The commission issued a request for proposals in January. It's anticipated that a contract will be awarded in June, paving the way for a multi-year environmental review of the span, to identify any issues that may arise should officials decide to replace the span.

The commission says the bridge "has been a bane to generations of motorists." Drivers on each side have a 7.5-foot-wide lane to work with. In comparison, the width of an interstate highway travel lane is 12 feet.

Washington Crossing Bridge (Google Maps)
Washington Crossing Bridge (Google Maps)

According to the commission, incidents such as fender benders and broken sideview mirrors are frequently reported along the bridge, which was constructed before the mass production of automobiles.

But the commission doesn't want to replace the bridge simply because of the inconvenience it poses drivers. According to the request for proposals, the bridge has experienced structural deterioration, and that creates "reliability and safety concerns."

Washington Crossing Bridge (Delaware River Joint Toll Bridge Commission)
Washington Crossing Bridge (Delaware River Joint Toll Bridge Commission)

In order to continue with the process to possibly replace the bridge, the parties involved must consider factors such as the potential impacts on the existing Delaware River habitat and other resources.

The bridge has been rehabilitated multiple times since opening to traffic in 1905, according to the commission. The commission has owned the bridge since July 1987.

In 2023, the bridge carried an average of 7,200 vehicles per day.

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