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Detours expected after canal bridge to shut down this fall

The construction will disrupt campus access.
Sandeep Mangat / The Daily Princetonian

Access to the Towpath and the other side of Carnegie Lake may be a bridge too far for students this fall as the bridge closest to campus closes due to construction.

The New Jersey Department of Transportation (NJDOT) will replace the span of Washington Road Bridge that crosses the D&R Canal this fall, according to an advisory issued on July 20. The portion of the bridge over Lake Carnegie will be unaffected. After a year marked by disruptions and detours due to major construction projects on and off campus, the bridge replacement signals more to come in the fall.


The “emergency” repair will entail a prolonged closure on Washington Road — a notoriously busy roadway connecting north and southbound traffic through campus. The project has already faced preliminary delays, with the start date pushed from July 21 to July 26. The road is now blocked off between Faculty Road and Tiger Lane, and will not be reopened until the project’s expected completion in October.

“It will affect some commutes,” wrote University media relations specialist Ahmad Rizvi in a statement sent to The Daily Princetonian. “But most staff traveling to campus from Route One access campus via the Alexander Road exit, not the Washington Road exit. Commuters are advised to access campus via Alexander Road or Harrison Road.”

According to Assistant Director of Athletics/Communications Chas Dorman, the construction will have no impact on Princeton rowing teams’ ability to train and compete on Lake Carnegie. 

However, access to facilities used by the cross country and rowing teams will be affected, as they are located off Washington Road. The facilities will remain open and Dorman told the ‘Prince’ that Princeton athletics is working with Transportation and Parking Services to “provide the most up-to-date information to fans and visitors attending athletics events this fall.”

“We do encourage our fans to allow for extra time when arriving to events in the fall while the construction project continues,” he wrote. 

The bridge was originally built in 1905 when the Millstone River was dammed to create Lake Carnegie. It now spans the river, connecting campus to the D&R Canal State Park and Towpath, which are used by students and community members for training and recreation.


A campus message from July 20 specified that access to the park and towpath will be maintained, but may be “limited at certain times as construction proceeds.”

According to Rizvi, the towpath will not be accessible via Washington Road but will be reachable from Alexander or Harrison Streets.

When asked how construction updates and related closures would be communicated to the University community, Rizvi noted that the Washington Bridge Closure is “not related to construction on campus” and directed the ‘Prince’ to the 511NJ website.

Tess Weinreich is an associate News editor for the ‘Prince.’

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Correction: the article has been updated to clarify that the bridge spanning Lake Carnegie will be unaffected by construction. It has also been updated with information about ways to access the towpath.