The Driscoll Bridge (left) and the Edison Bridge (right).
|Maintained by||New Jersey Turnpike Authority|
|Designer||Box girder bridge|
The Driscoll Bridge is a toll bridge (a series of three spans) on the Garden State Parkway in the U.S. state of New Jersey spanning the Raritan River near its mouth in Raritan Bay. The bridge connects the Middlesex County communities of Woodbridge Township on the north with Sayreville on the south. With a total of 15 travel lanes and 6 shoulder lanes, it is the widest motor vehicle bridge in the world by number of lanes and one of the world's busiest.
The northbound lanes of the bridge were opened to the public without fanfare on July 30, 1954. The bridge was formally renamed in 1974 for former Governor of New Jersey Alfred E. Driscoll, who advocated for and oversaw the construction of the Garden State Parkway, as well as for the New Jersey Turnpike.
The original span was built with two lanes in each direction. A second span was added in 1972, with each span serving five lanes of traffic.
The bridge had very narrow lanes which created traffic bottlenecks for miles in each direction on the Garden State Parkway, until it was widened. The original configuration was four twelve-foot lanes with shoulders. This was then widened to eight twelve-foot lanes with shoulders. The shoulders on each side were then converted to travel lanes, resulting in a total of ten twelve-foot lanes. Finally, the bridge was restriped to have twelve ten-foot lanes, six in each direction. The speed limit on the Garden State Parkway is 45 mph between Milepost 126.7 and 127.7, approaching and traversing the Driscoll Bridge.
Once the new southbound span was fully opened, and the old span reconstructed, the new span featured seven southbound lanes and the original span had eight northbound lanes, separated between through traffic and traffic exiting at Exit 127. The new southbound bridge opened to traffic on May 3, 2006, bringing to an end this part of the construction project, which started on September 25, 2002.
On May 20, 2009, the Driscoll Bridge project was completed. The new configuration has seven southbound lanes on the newly constructed span, and the original span has eight northbound lanes, carries northbound traffic only. The northbound span is also divided, with four lanes on each side. The left side of the northbound span contains four express route lanes going through traffic for Parkway North over the bridge, and the right side of the northbound span contains three right lanes going into Exit 127 of the Parkway and one express route lane going through traffic for Parkway North over the bridge. The Driscoll Bridge is the world's widest bridge, in terms of total number of travel lanes (15 total).
The toll charged for this bridge (due south) is not for the bridge itself but rather a toll for driving on the Garden State Parkway; however, any southbound motorist that uses the bridge will pass through this toll plaza, as there are no southbound exits between the bridge and the plaza. The toll was 35 cents each way until September 2004; then it was being doubled to 70 cents for southbound cars only. Then the toll was increased to $1.00 from December 2008 to December 2011 (first phase of the toll increase) and then it was increased to $1.50 on January 2012 to present (second phase of the toll increase) to southbound traffic after passing the bridge. This along with many other Parkway toll plazas, have been converted to one-way in an effort to reduce traffic congestion.
Suicides and murders on the bridge
On February 17, 2010, Shamshiddin Abdur-Raheem allegedly murdered his daughter by throwing her off the bridge. The body of an infant matching the girl's description was found on the south bank of the Raritan river on April 24 and was later identified as the missing girl through DNA testing.
- "Garden State Parkway opens world's widest bridge - 15 lanes". TOLLROADSnews, Peter Samuel. Retrieved 2011-06-06.
- "New Garden State Link. Raritan Bridge Is Opened for Northbound Traffic". Associated Press in New York Times. July 31, 1954. Retrieved 2009-03-18. "The New Jersey Highway Authority today opened a new link in the Garden State Parkway -- the high-level bridge over the Raritan River for northbound traffic."
- Next phase of Driscoll Bridge plan set to start, The Star-Ledger, March 22, 2007. "The original bridge was built in 1955 with two lanes in each direction, but in 1972, with Shore traffic increasing rapidly, a second span was built that created a bridge with five lanes in each direction. In 1974, former Gov. Alfred E. Driscoll was on hand as a plaque was unveiled officially renaming the bridge for him. Driscoll was governor from 1947 to 1954 and ordered construction of both the New Jersey Turnpike and the Garden State Parkway."
- Driscoll Bridge project advances with today's action by Turnpike board, New Jersey Department of Transportation press release dated April 20, 2002. Accessed December 13, 2008.
- New Jersey Turnpike Authority Regulations Relating to the New Jersey Turnpike and the Garden State Parkway, Effective December 9, 2004 (PDF), accessed July 5, 2006 Archived January 14, 2006 at the Wayback Machine
- Bridge to open fully on Wednesday - Project completed ahead of schedule, Asbury Park Press, May 2, 2006
- Driscoll Bridge opening May 20, 2009
- N.J. man tells police he tossed baby off bridge Feb 17, 2010
- DNA tests match baby thrown from Driscoll Bridge May 3, 2010.
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