Sit back and relax: The Delaware Memorial Bridge

Digital Originals

(WHTM) — The Delaware Memorial Bridge is the southernmost bridge on the Delaware River. It’s the only bridge for vehicles connecting the states of Delaware and New Jersey, and the largest vehicular crossing on the river. A view looking north from the waterfront in New Castle, Delaware.

The bridge is a little over three miles long, the suspension towers rise 440 feet from river level, and the span itself is 174 feet above the water.

While we say “bridge”, it’s actually two bridges. The first span opened to traffic on August 16, 1951, carrying four lanes of traffic across the river. When opened, it was expected to serve about four million vehicles a year, but by 1955 traffic was almost double that.

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By 1960, with the New Jersey Turnpike connected, traffic was up to 15 million vehicles a year and increased again when the new Delaware Turnpike was linked to the bridge in 1963. In 1964, construction of a second span began, and opened in 1968, giving travelers eight lanes to drive on.

According to the Delaware River and Bay Authority (DRBA), 18,288,314 vehicles drove through the southbound toll plaza in 2019. Crossings dropped during 2020 due to COVID, but numbers are bouncing back up.

The Delaware Memorial Bridge is not only a bridge between two states but to their heritages, too. It is dedicated to veterans of both New Jersey and Delaware. Annual ceremonies take place on Memorial and Veterans Day at the bridge’s Veterans Memorial Park in New Castle, Delaware, located right next to the bridge.

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