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Released: 5/19/2010 

DRPA Commissioners Approve Walt Whitman Bridge Redecking Project

The largest capital improvement project ever undertaken by the DRPA has received the approval of the Board of Commissioners who govern the bi-state agency.  The board approved two contracts totaling $139,774,286.67 to both redeck the Walt Whitman Bridge and monitor construction of the project.  A $128,085.778.00 construction contract was awarded to the American Bridge Company of Coraopolis, Pennsylvania.  An $11,688,508.67 construction monitoring contract was awarded to the joint venture of Urban Engineers Inc./URS Corporation of Philadelphia.

The redecking project includes the removal of the suspended span, installation of a new lightweight concrete filled jointless grid deck, structure improvements, new parapets and a new steel shell movable barrier.

According to DRPA CEO, John J. Matheussen, “Redecking the Walt Whitman Bridge is one of the cornerstones of our five year one billion dollar capital budget.  This project will result in an entirely new deck over the Delaware River using state of the art technology.”  The bridge is 53 years old first opening to traffic on May 16th, 1957.  In 2009, 40 million vehicles crossed the bridge.

DRPA Acting Chief Engineer, Michael Venuto, says “preliminary work will begin in August and the entire project should be completed by the end of the summer of 2014.”  Venuto adds “there will be long term lane closures for 35 months starting in the spring of 2011.” 
According to Matheussen, “we will be working hard to minimize inconvenience to our customers during the entire project with specific emphasis placed on the long term lane closures.”  Matheussen continues “the Authority is investigating several ways to keep the public informed throughout the entire construction process. This includes developing a project website, notices in E-Z Pass bills, handouts to drivers using the bridge and reinstituting a highway alert radio system first used in the mid-90s.”

DRPA COO, Tim Pulte, says “once this project is completed the Walt Whitman Bridge will be as modern and up to date as any bridge being built today.”  Pulte adds “it’s like building a new bridge without the cost of new construction.”

The Delaware River Port Authority is a regional transportation agency.  DRPA owns and operates the Benjamin Franklin, Walt Whitman, Commodore Barry and Betsy Ross Bridges, PATCO and the Philadelphia Cruise Terminal.  The DRPA also owns the RiverLink Ferry.

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