Long-Term Lane Closures in Store for Walt Whitman Drivers

Bridge's span will be completely replaced and updated

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NBC Bay Area

If you drive the Walt Whitman Bridge, prepare to add some extra time to your commute.

Beginning in August, construction crews will undertake an almost four-year, $139 million project to completely update the span.

Delaware River Port Authority officials plan to completely remove the road deck and replace it with a brand-new structure.

The new 11,981-foot span will feature a lighter, jointless concrete road surface, a stronger structure and new barriers.

"Once this project is completed, the Walt Whitman Bridge will be as modern and up-to-date as any bridge being built today," DRPA COO Tim Pulte said in a press release. "It’s like building a new bridge without the cost of new construction."

The span will remain open during the three-year, 10-month long project, but there will be long-term lane closures, officials said. The closures won't begin until the spring of 2011.

The 53-year-old bridge opened in May 1957 offering drivers another way to cross the Delaware River into New Jersey. It's now used by more than 40 million drivers a year.

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