New Hope OKs longer day for bridge work

Move is expected to shave a minimum of three weeks from the work schedule.

By: Linda Seida
   NEW HOPE — Borough Council members passed a resolution Tuesday to temporarily lengthen the workday by three hours while renovations are under way on the New Hope-Lambertville free bridge, a move that is expected to shave a minimum of three weeks from the work schedule.
   The resolution also supports a proposal by the Delaware River Joint Toll Bridge Commission to operate a free shuttle bus between the two river towns on weekdays when the span will be closed to traffic. The bus, paid for by the commission, will be handicapped accessible, according to council Vice President Sharyn Keiser.
   Without passage of the resolution, New Hope’s noise ordinance would have prohibited work before 7 a.m. and after 7 p.m.
   Work now can proceed from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Thursday. Friday work hours will be 6 a.m. to 5 p.m. The bridge will reopen to weekend traffic from 5 p.m. Friday until 6 a.m. Monday.
   Last month, Lambertville officials also agreed to extend work hours from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m., overriding the city’s noise ordinance for the length of the project, which is set to start in January.
   Longer workdays will bring the $6 million renovation project to completion at least three weeks sooner than the initial projected end date of mid-July, according to Councilman Randy Flager.
   The possibility exits for even more time savings.
   "There are incentives for quicker completion and penalties for not getting it done in time," Ms. Keiser said.
   Among the improvements planned for the structure is the removal of all lead paint before the span is repainted. The bridge commission also intends to widen the pedestrian walkway, replace the flooring system and install a new handrail.
   The 1,046-foot steel bridge was built in 1904 to replace a wooden bridge washed away by a flood in 1903. An earlier covered bridge also was destroyed by a flood, in 1841.