Lambertville – Then and Now
- Address: Bridge Street at Delaware River
- Historic Name: New Hope-Lambertville Bridge
- Today: New Hope-Lambertville Toll-Supported Bridge (commonly called “The Free Bridge”)
The original wooden covered bridge was opened on September 12, 1814, replacing the ferry service once provided by Coryell’s Ferry. Lewis Wernwag, nationally known for his covered bridges, was the designer.
In 1841 a flood heavily damaged the original bridge and in 1842 a second wooden covered bridge was reconstructed which was destroyed during the flood of 1903. This bridge as well as several of the Delaware River’s other wooden bridges were replaced with modern steel bridges.
The superstructure of the New Hope–Lambertville Bridge dates to 1904, when its steel truss spans were first built. According to the National Steel Bridge Alliance, the steel, pin-connected Pratt truss bridge was built by Lewis F. Shoemaker and Company of Pottstown, Pa., at a cost of $63,818.81.
In 1919, the “Commission for the Elimination of Toll Bridges” bought the bridge and it has been toll-free since that time.
The New Hope–Lambertville Bridge was one of the few structures not devastated by the flood of August 1955, the greatest that the Delaware River had ever experienced. It did, however, require about a month of repairs, reopening on September 22, 1955.
In 2004, the bridge underwent an extensive $7.7 million rehabilitation project, coinciding with its 100th anniversary.
The Delaware River Joint Toll Bridge Commission, created in 1934, owns and operates this bridge; the commission operates 20 Delaware River bridges in all. Tolls on other bridges across the Delaware support the bridge’s operation, maintenance and security. We are very grateful to have this toll-supported or “Free Bridge” connecting Lambertville and New Hope.