Drivers crossing the Delaware Memorial Bridge will likely pay more for tolls starting this spring.
A proposed toll hike by the Delaware River & Bay Authority that would likely roll out in March would increase tolls for cars and personal trucks from $4 to $5.
Tolls for commercial trucks would go up $2 per axel. The cost of commuter and frequent traveller programs would also rise.
Delaware River and Bay Authority Spokesman Jim Salmon says the increase will cover improvements to the bridge and the Cape May-Lewes Ferry.
“The revenue projections are not sufficient to provide the necessary capital to handle the Authority’s nearly $440 million capital improvement plan over the next five years,” said Salmon.
Planned projects include bridge paint recoating, suspension rope replacement, bridge steelwork repairs and a ship collision protection system.
“The first span is 67, 68 years old. It’s in a marine environment, salt air," said Salmon. "It’s heavily used by both motorists and commercial enterprises on the east coast, transporting goods and services.”
According to the Delaware River & Bay Authority, planned capital improvements over the next few years that the toll increase would cover are: the bridge paint removal and recoating at $48.2 million; suspension rope replacement at $24.5 million; bridge steelwork repairs at $40.5 million; pin and link rehabilitation on both structures of the DMB at $19.7 million; ship collision protection system at $45.2 million; bridge deck repair at $21.5 million; transfer bridge repairs at the Cape May – Lewes Ferry at $4.3 million; and a ferry repowering program at $9.5 million.
Tolls on the bridge last increased in July 2011, with the cost for cars and personal trucks moving from $3 to $4. Salmon says some of the improvement projects the 2011 increase paid for are still being completed.
“There was adjustments made to the last toll increase based on input from the public,” said Salmon. “[Public input] is something that we take very seriously.”
Public hearings for the toll increase proposed for March 2019 are scheduled for next Wednesday at 6:30 in New Castle and Thursday in Carneys Point.