GREEN BROOK, NJ – UPDATE: Somerset County has decided to delay the repairs to the Jefferson Avenue Bridge until further notice.
Two significant construction projects south of Route 22 on the East side of Green Brook look to snarl traffic and frustrate local residents and businesses for up to a month.
Beginning Monday, April 7 the Jefferson Avenue Bridge over the Green Brook at the intersection of three towns and three municipalities will be closed to vehicular traffic for repairs to its foundations. The bridge is at the end of its usable life, but is not scheduled to be replaced in the near future, and so the structural repairs are required. The protected pedestrian walkway will remain open during the construction, which will last approximately three weeks.
The posted detour will take drivers trying to cross the Green Brook to Washington Avenue which is facing daily lane closures for the next month as New Jersey American Water replaces water mains under the road. The utility work has been slowing traffic for the past week, and will continue to do so as work from Route 22 to the Dunellen border goes on.
New Jersey American Water notes that there is a history of water main breaks on this line, and that the new pipe will prevent future leaks and increase flow to businesses and residents in the area. In addition to more reliable water delivery, additional pressure will better support response to fires. The $600,000 price tag for the repairs, expected to be completed by the first week of May, are born by the water company.
The combination of the two construction projects on side-by-side north-south roads could make it hard for people looking to get to the local deli or post office difficult, or just trying to get home or to work. New Jersey American water confirmed that they all the work was coordinated with the county to minimize disruption.
A Somerset County spokesman said that if the detour caused additional problems they would revisit moving the detour signs to Rock Avenue on the North Plainfield border. Drivers are not, he noted, required to follow detour signs and so could make that determination on their own.
Somerset County engineers were at the Jefferson Avenue Bridge today reviewing the work to be done and trying not to step in the brook. Somerset County is responsible for the maintenance and repair of the bridge, which sits at the border of Green Brook, Dunellen and Plainfield.
Green Brook Schools Superintendent Dr. Richard Labbe says that the town’s middle school, situated just north of the bridge on Jefferson Avenue, will not be impacted very much.
“All of our students are from Green Brook, so that shouldn’t be a problem,” Labbe said. “It is part of some staff commutes, including mine, but we’ll just drive up a little farther to Washington and come to work that way.”
Some Green Brook students who receive special education or other programs out of district may be impacted, but Labbe said busing schedules would be adjusted to accommodate any added driving time. The Green Brook Schools operate their own busses.