By Brad Segall

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — The nearly $330-million project to replace the heavily-traveled Scudder Falls Bridge that links Bucks County, Pennsylvania with Mercer County, New Jersey is moving forward with the awarding of a significant contract.

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The Delaware River Joint Toll Bridge Commission has awarded a contract to a Hamilton, New Jersey company for the final design phase. That’s expected to take about 18 months. After that, it’s expected that construction will start in 2017.

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The project not only calls for a new span carrying I-95 over the Delaware River, but redesigns and overhauls of the interchanges on either side. Commission executive director Joseph Resta says the current bridge was not designed to handle today’s traffic.

“We’re two lanes in either direction,” he says, “and as KYW (Newsradio) knows very well, we many times get on the traffic reports during the evening commutes and the morning commutes.”

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The new bridge will have three lanes in each direction along with auxiliary lanes and shoulders. It’s expected to take three to four years to complete. The bridge will be tolled with an electronic collection system in the southbound direction.