Drivers cringe at seeing the Tacony-Palmyra Bridge or the Burlington-Bristol Bridge rise to let ships pass because of the inevitable traffic delays.
Now, those drivers are in for another upward motion they may not like.
For the first time in 15 years, officials propose increasing tolls on the Burlington-Bristol and Tacony-Palmyra bridges.
Under the plan, tolls for passenger vehicles would jump from $2 to $4. For E-Z Pass users it would increase to $3. Tolls for buses, RVs, and axle trucks would also rise.
The Burlington County Bridge Commission, which operates the two bridges as well as six smaller spans, is pushing the toll hikes as a way to pay for a series of infrastructure improvement projects.
“We’ve identified six critical capital improvement projects, which are going to extend the life of the bridges,” said chairman John B. Comegno. “They’re going to increase the safety of motorists and construction crews, and reduce congestion, traffic, and marine delays.”
Totaling $110 million, project plans include replacing the Burlington-Bristol Bridge roadway; repainting the Burlington-Bristol and Tacony-Palmyra bridges and toll plazas; and upgrading mechanical equipment used during openings on the Burlington-Bristol, Tacony-Palmyra, and Riverside-Delanco bridges.
“We’ve got some mechanical parts and equipment on some bridges that are more than 80 years old. That does not mean that our bridges are not safe, and we pride ourselves on our safety,” said Comegno. “But we’ve got a responsibility of stewardship to our bridges to make sure that the integrity of our bridges remains strong.”
The projects will employ more than 100 people and take five years to complete, but Comegno said drivers won’t be severely inconvenienced.
The commission will hold two public hearings on the proposed toll hikes and improvement projects on Monday and Aug. 11.
It costs $5 to cross the nearby Betsy Ross Bridge, which is operated by the Delaware River Port Authority.