The Commodore Barry Bridge is about to get a $100 million makeover.
A Delaware River Port Authority board committee on Wednesday approved the first of three phases of sandblasting and painting that will continue for five years, starting in January and continuing through 2019.
The $22 million contracts approved Wednesday still need to be approved by the full DRPA board next week.
The bridge links Chester and Logan Township. It is the third-busiest of four DRPA toll bridges between South Jersey and Pennsylvania, carrying 6.5 million vehicles a year.
The first phase of the painting project, scheduled to start in January and continue through 2016, will involve the New Jersey approach spans and the U.S. 130 overpass.
The painting contract is to be awarded to Corcon Inc. of Lowellville, Ohio, for $19.7 million. A project-monitoring contract for $2.3 million is to be awarded to STV Inc. of Douglassville, Pa.
Several DRPA board members questioned the low cost of Corcon's bid, which was about half the agency's estimate of $37 million. New Jersey board member Richard Sweeney, an official in the Ironworkers union, voted against awarding the contract to Corcon, citing the cost and safety concerns.
DRPA chief engineer Mike Venuto said Corcon had an acceptable safety record, and said DRPA staff would meet with company officials to make sure costs would not significantly rise during the project.
The second phase, expected to cost about $30 million, will involve the Pennsylvania approach spans. It is slated to start in January 2016 and be completed by December 2017.
The main span over the Delaware River will be blasted and painted during the third phase, at an estimated cost of $48 million, beginning in January 2018 and continuing until the end of 2019.
During that phase, motorists can expect lane restrictions during off-peak hours, nights, and weekends, the DRPA said.
The 13,912-foot-long bridge, named for Revolutionary War naval hero John Barry, was opened to traffic in 1974.