Washington Crossing Bridge

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For the bridge in Pittsburgh, see Washington Crossing Bridge (Pittsburgh).
Washington Crossing Bridge
Washington's Crossing Bridge 10-04-09.jpg
Coordinates 40°17′43″N 74°52′5″W / 40.29528°N 74.86806°W / 40.29528; -74.86806Coordinates: 40°17′43″N 74°52′5″W / 40.29528°N 74.86806°W / 40.29528; -74.86806
Carries 2 lanes of PA 532/ CR 546
Crosses Delaware River
Locale Washington Crossing section of Hopewell Township, New Jersey and Washington Crossing section of Upper Makefield Township, Pennsylvania
Official name Washington Crossing Toll Supported Bridge
Maintained by Delaware River Joint Toll Bridge Commission
Design Truss bridge
Total length 877 feet (267 m)
Width 15 feet (5 m)
Longest span 143 feet (44 m)
Load limit 3 tons
Clearance above 8 feet (2 m)
Opened 1904; 111 years ago (1904)
Daily traffic 6,500[1]
Toll None

Washington Crossing Bridge (officially referred to as Washington Crossing Toll Supported Bridge) is a truss bridge spanning the Delaware River that connects Washington Crossing, Hopewell Township in Mercer County, New Jersey with Washington Crossing, Upper Makefield Township in Bucks County, Pennsylvania. It was built in 1904 by the Taylorsville Delaware Bridge Company. The bridge is currently owned and operated by the Delaware River Joint Toll Bridge Commission.


An early 20th century postcard depicting Washington Crossing Bridge

On February 14, 1831, an act was passed by the New Jersey Legislature and concurred by the Pennsylvania General Assembly, creating the Taylorsville Delaware Bridge Company.[2] By the act's provisions, a bridge was to be located at Taylor's Ferry, close to where George Washington crossed the Delaware River in 1776. This timber bridge was constructed beginning in 1831 and was completed in 1834. Its six spans gave it a total length of 875 feet.[3] The first bridge remained in service until it was swept away by the flood of January 8, 1841. A replacement bridge was constructed shortly afterward and remained in service until it was carried away by the flood of October 10, 1903. In 1904, the bridge's current steel superstructure was built.

The DRJTBC bought the private toll bridge in 1922.[4]

The Pennsylvania approach to Washington Crossing Bridge

The flood of August 19, 1955, did considerable damage to Washington Crossing Bridge. Floating debris in the form of whole trees, steel barrels and even houses smashed against the bridge, resulting in damage to all six spans. More than half the bridge's bottom chords were bent or twisted beyond repair. These members were replaced with new fabricated steel members and the bridge was reopened to traffic on November 17, 1955.

During the fall of 1994, the bridge underwent an extensive structural rehabilitation. As described by the Delaware River Joint Toll Bridge Commission, "Many truss members were replaced with new fabricated galvanized steel. Floor system members and the open steel grid deck were replaced in the first three bays of each end span. All remaining structural steel was blast cleaned, metallized, and painted. A new wooden sidewalk was installed and renovations were made at both approaches to the bridge."[2]


A view of the bridge from the walkway
The bridge's truss members joining the upper chords

Washington Crossing Bridge is a six-span double Warren truss structure measuring 877 feet (267 m) in length. Its riveted-steel grid deck provides a roadway width of 15 feet (4.6 m). The roadway is made of a grate.The bridge's substructures, composed of rubble stone-faced masonry, are from the original 1831 bridge, while its superstructure dates to 1904. Five piers (one of which has been faced with mortar) and two abutments support the bridge. The downriver (south) side of Washington Crossing Bridge supports a cantilevered, wood planked pedestrian sidewalk that was added in 1926.[5]

Recent floods[edit]

There have been several floods in the last few years that have either damaged or closed Washington Crossing Bridge. The first of these was the result of heavy rains received on September 17 and September 18 in 2004. The remnants of Hurricane Ivan were the cause of the rainfall, which totaled 3 to 5 inches (76 to 127 mm) in a 12-hour period. Flood peaks along the main section of the Delaware River were the highest since the flood of 1955.[6] The bridge was temporarily closed.

Washington Crossing Bridge during a flood in late June 2006

Unusually heavy rains experienced in late March 2005 and early April 2005 combined with melting snow resulted in another flood.[7] One of the piers of Washington Crossing Bridge had its masonry core exposed after being battered by a floating object. In the aftermath of the flood, the Delaware River Joint Toll Bridge Commission requested $500,000 in emergency flood repairs. Although the bridge remained opened for a short time following the flooding, it was closed on April 7, 2005, when receding flood waters revealed the extent of the damage to the pier. The bridge was reopened to continuous traffic on May 4, 2005, although it was closed for nighttime repairs beginning May 18.[8]

Most recently, in 2006, the Delaware River experienced 3 to 6.5 inches (170 mm) of rain from June 23 to June 28. The river's peak levels were comparable to those of the April 2005 flood.[9] Washington Crossing Bridge was closed until July 1, when it reopened to vehicular and pedestrian traffic at 10:15 a.m.[10]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Traffic Counts". Delaware River Joint Toll Bridge Commission. 2005. Retrieved 2007-04-04. 
  2. ^ a b "Washington Crossing Toll Supported Bridge". Delaware River Joint Toll Bridge Commission. Retrieved 2007-06-14. 
  3. ^ Richman, Steven M. (2003). The Bridges of New Jersey, New Brunswick: Rutgers University Press. Pages 79-80. ISBN 0-8135-3510-7.
  4. ^ Two Toll Bridges Pass to State, The Motor Truck, April 1922, p. 205
  5. ^ "Washington Crossing Bridge". Pennridge School District. 2005. Retrieved 2007-04-01. 
  6. ^ "Summary of September 17–23, 2004, flooding on the Delaware River and its tributaries in New Jersey". New Jersey Water Science Center. July 20, 2005. Retrieved 2007-04-01. 
  7. ^ "Recent Flooding Events In The Delaware River Basin". Delaware River Basin Commission. Retrieved 2007-04-05. 
  8. ^ "Washington Crossing Bridge To Open Continuously On Wednesday, May 4, 2005". Delaware River Joint Toll Bridge Commission. 2005. Retrieved 2007-04-01. 
  9. ^ "Summary of June 28–29, 2006 flooding in the New Jersey part of the Delaware River Basin". New Jersey Water Science Center. July 28, 2006. Archived from the original on 2007-02-13. Retrieved 2007-03-30. 
  10. ^ "Washington Crossing Toll Supported Bridge Now Open". Delaware River Joint Toll Bridge Commission. July 1, 2006. Retrieved 2007-06-17. 

External links[edit]