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Bridge Repairs Delayed, Could Start in Summer

Middle Valley, Newburgh Roads could be closed between six and eight months.

Bridge reconstruction projects on opposite ends of Washington Township slated for 2012 are expected to take up to six, possibly eight months to complete, according to Morris County Engineer Roslyn Khurdan.

A full bridge reconstruction on , Khurdan said. The project was originally expected to begin in either late April or early May.

Utility relocation–electrical wires specifically–has yet to be determined, and final approval for the contractor by the Department of Transportation has yet to be submitted, Khurdan said. 

The project, which includes repaving of approximately 100 feet of roadway approaching both sides of the bridge, is expected to take up to six months. That is, however, just a timetable, according to Khurdan, and could be done quicker.

Detours for the roadway will re-route drivers heading southeast onto Schooley’s Mountain Road via Zellers Road to West Springtown Road, according to Lt. Mark Niemynski.

Residents in the area have expressed concern over the ability of fire and first aid personnel to safely reach homes between Zellers Road and the bridge location. In that area is a hairpin turn, named Woodpecker’s Point, that forces drivers to turn approximately 135-degrees right, downhill.

“(The fire trucks) are just going to have to make it around the corner,” said Chief Dave Steinel. “They don’t have much choice.”

The area lies within the Long Valley Fire Company’s jurisdiction. Chief Jim Rasmussen could not immediately be reached for this story.

On the other side of the township, and crossing over the Musconetcong River, is the Newburgh Road Bridge, which has been considered “structurally deficient” and “functionally obsolete” .

The project, according to McLaughlin, has been in the works for more than a decade. The reconstruction will expand the bridge from just over 20 feet wide to more than 50 feet across.

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Construction for the project could take between six and eight months, Khurdan said, but that is just a timetable, and could be less.

As of now, though, there is no specific start date for the work. “It could be June, it could be August,” Khurdan said. “It’s looking more like August because no bids have been made, and there is no contractor in place yet.”

Like the approaches to the Middle Valley Road Bridge, 100 feet of roadway will be repaved on either side of the Newburgh Road Bridge as well, Khurdan said.

Drivers heading north on Schooley’s Mountain Road will need to make a left at the intersection of Rt. 57 and Schooley’s Mountain Road to bypass the bridgework. An alternative route to reach Rt. 57 would be Pleasant Grove Road to Kings Highway.

Niemynski said he will have a pre-construction meeting with the county regarding the Middle Valley Road Bridge on May 3 to finalize details.

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