May 5, 2014 at 8:30 PM
WEST ORANGE, NJ - The Orange Walkway and Pedestrian Bridges have opened at South Mountain Arena near the the Paddle Boat and Pavilion along the Orange Reservoir. The 1.75 mile walking path and bridge were opened during a ceremony that included Essex County Executive Joe DiVincenzo, Orange Mayor Dwayne Warren, and members of the Shauger Group, the project's contractor.
In addition to the walkways, two pedestrian bridges were installed: the main aluminum arched bridge, which is 84 feet long and spans the Reservoir's dam; and a smaller seventy-foot bridge. Lighting was installed along the Reservoir's circumference and bridges for evening walks.
“We are incredibly proud of our company’s role in helping make that transformation possible,” added Donald Shauger, Executive Vice President of TSG. “With the Reservoir walkway and bridge project, we once again were able to put Essex County residents to work—on a project to benefit Essex County residents. This project is just one of many that families will enjoy for years to come at the South Mountain Recreation Complex.”
TSH was awarded a publicly bid contract for $2,157,260.
Construction began in December, and according to the Shauger group press release, "the project began beginning with the removal of trees from specified locations. Thousands of feet of conduit subsequently was successfully installed underground, despite an ongoing struggle to pump out water and remove snow and ice as that was being done".
The snowy winter presented extreme challenges to the crew as they attempted to install the conduits and footings for the bridges. Said Carpenter Foreman Michael Augustine, “It was tough because the footings were going below water level,” said Augustine. “Every morning, we had to pump out water or break up ice before we could go into the trenches.”
Once construction was completed, the Shauger group landscaped the area with mulch, plants, and stones. Trees were replaced and the public is now welcome to stroll through the reservoir and enjoy the scenic views.
“With this project, we are beginning to realize the potential of the Orange Reservoir as a recreation destination. Having a continuous walkway around the perimeter of the waterway creates unbelievable opportunities to enjoy nature, link to hiking trails in South Mountain Reservation, and observe different perspectives of this magnificence open space that were never possible before,” DiVincenzo said.
“None of this would be possible without Orange Mayor Warren and the City Council agreeing to open the land to the public and acting as our partners,” he added.