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Home news N.j., Pa. Monuments Return to Easton-phillipsburg Free Bridge (Photos)

N.j., Pa. Monuments Return to Easton-phillipsburg Free Bridge (Photos)

Following an absence of one year, the Pennsylvania and New Jersey flags that once graced the Easton-Phillipsburg free bridge are once again waving to passing cars.

On Wednesday morning, workers from the Delaware River Joint Toll Bridge Commission returned the New Jersey state seal’s golden monument to its perch atop the east tower of the river span and the Pennsylvania state seal to its perch atop the west tower.

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It was Seward Johnson Atelier in Hamilton, New Jersey, that removed the state seal monuments in late 2021 and gave them a thorough restoration.

The New Jersey state seal features a steed’s head and a helmet, emblematic of freedom; Liberty and Ceres, the Roman goddess of grain; a shield with three plows, a sign of agriculture; and a motto scroll bearing the words “Liberty and Prosperity” and the year of statehood, 1776.

Pennsylvania’s coat of arms features a shield bearing symbols for trade and agriculture, including a ship and a plough, and a sheaf of wheat.
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The state motto, “Virtue, Liberty, and Independence,” is emblazoned on the shield between an eagle and a pair of horses, an olive branch, and a stalk of corn.

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The Northampton Street Bridge, as it is formally known, replaced a covered bridge at the same location in the 1800s and has a rich history. Because it was owned jointly by two states, it was renamed “free bridge” in 1921.

Hurricane Diane’s flood in 1955 famously devastated and then reconstructed the free bridge, but the bridge commission claims the destruction left a sag in the center that is still visible today.

According to projections, the bridge will carry an average of 16,500 vehicles per day in 2021, making it the busiest non-toll crossing in the two-state commission.

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The $15.5 million renovation project is expected to be finished by spring 2023. The commission has reported that among the tasks still to be completed are the installation of new electrical systems and lighting fixtures, as well as new sidewalk panels along one side.

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