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Saturday, May 25, 2024

Months of Lane Closures Continue for Water Gap

Daily closures on Interstate 80 begin here. Photo by Joe Phalon.

Driving through the Delaware Water Gap is starting to have a nostalgic feel to it, back to the days when just one lane meandered lazily along the river. 

It stunk then and it really stinks now. 

Repairs to Interstate 80 in Knowlton and Hardwick, which began April 1, have necessitated lane closures of one lane during the day, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., on the eastbound side. This will leave one lane available to drivers.

The closure is exacerbated by the continued closure of Route 611, which parallels I-80 on the Pennsylvania side of the Delaware, due to a rockslide almost two years ago. 

The I-80 right lane will be closed from milepost 0.5 after the exit ramp to River Road in Hardwick, to mile post 1.5 before the weigh station/U-turn in Knowlton, the New Jersey Department of Transportation (NJDOT) said.

The closures are expected to last at least until the summer.

The NJDOT is attempting to repair a retaining wall along I-80 that has been deteriorating during the past few years. According to the NJDOT, the work area is hemmed into a narrow strip between the highway and the river, allowing construction crews very little room to work. 

Last year, the NJDOT tried to install a suspended trestle-like structure to work from, but that attempt failed. This time the NJDOT hopes to complete the work from the roadway level, which requires the lane closing. 

The section of I-80 under repair is along the notorious S-curves where the roadway is shoehorned between the Delaware River and the base of Mount Tammany. At least two of the retaining panels rising up from the water are in need of replacement, the NJDOT said. 

A 2022 report by the NJDOT found the retaining wall was “subject to sudden failure.” 

According to the Delaware River Joint Toll Bridge Commission, more than 53,000 vehicles travel across the nearby Delaware Water Gap I-80 bridge on an average day.

Joe Phalon
Joe Phalon, Contributing Writer
Contributing Writer

Joe was lured out of retirement by the opportunity to be a part of the Ridge View Echo. During a decades-long career in publishing and journalism, he has covered government on many levels from local school boards to the United States Supreme Court.

Along the way, Joe has worked at American Lawyer Magazine, The National Law Journal and The Record among other publications, and as the Press Officer of Columbia Law School. His work has been recognized with several first place awards from the Society of Professional Journalists and the New Jersey Press Association.

Being part of the Ridge View Echo brings Joe back to his roots and the kind of news coverage he loves: Telling the stories of people and local communities as well as keeping an eye on how their money is spent by their government officials.

Joe lives in Blairstown with his wife Rose, the founder of Quilting for a Cause, and their two wiener dogs. He is an artist in his spare time.