SOUTH PLAINFIELD, NJ - Construction is well under way to replace the Durham Avenue culvert – a tunnel-like structure that allows water to flow under a road – adjacent to the Enrite gas station.

Work on the culvert began back in early June and is currently taking place Monday through Friday from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. with one lane closed in either direction during these times. However, in an effort to move the project along and meet Middlesex County’s projected completion date of Sept. 22, additional road closures are necessary.

Beginning Aug. 17, the southbound side of Durham Avenue will be closed from 8 p.m. to 5 a.m. Monday through Wednesday while one lane on the northbound side will remain open. All southbound traffic will be stopped at Hamilton and detoured westbound toward Stelton Road.

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Additionally, during daytime construction, one lane in each direction will remain closed and drivers are encouraged to allot additional travel time and to use alternative routes.

“Middlesex County is telling us that work will be completed sometime in September. They’ve also assured us that they are trying to expedite the final stages and have put it on an accelerated schedule with longer work days,” said Anesh, adding, “We are working closely with the county to ensure that this project is completed in the allotted timeframe.”

The mayor continued, “Obviously, there is no good time to be stuck in traffic and I understand that this partial road closure will be inconvenient for many but this project is necessary. Without reconstruction, there is a chance the road would collapse completely and the road would then have to be shut down entirely.”

Last year, the Durham Avenue culvert partially collapsed and, as a result, Middlesex County – which is responsible for the maintenance, repair and replacement of culverts –performed a temporary repair. Portions of the road – which serves as a main artery in and out of South Plainfield – was covered with metal plates and replacement was scheduled for spring 2015. Newark-based Reivax Contracting secured the lowest bid, coming in at $478,134, and the project is being solely paid by Middlesex County.

Over the past few weeks, workers with Reivax have been prepping the area for the replacement of the culvert while respective utility companies have been working to relocate water, electric and telephone lines that run under the roadway. Contractors will be removing the old six-foot wide by 40-foot long concrete box culvert and replacing it with three concrete pipes, including one 38x60 inch elliptical pipe. Additionally, the county will be maintaining the 50-foot curb-to-curb road width along Durham and add a five-foot wide sidewalk across the culvert.

According to Ronald Sendner, a supervising engineer for Middlesex County, high traffic volume along Durham has been the biggest issue when it comes to the replacement of this particular culvert. “Obviously there is a tremendous amount of volume on this particular road, which makes the project more challenging,” said Sendner, noting that because the road cannot be closed down completely during the day, engineers must build one side of the culvert at a time.

“In order to do so, one lane in either direction must be closed and when that side is complete, the lanes will flip,” he said. “There is no other way.”

To stay informed of current road closures and scheduled construction, residents can sign up for email, phone calls and/or text alerts (standard text messaging/data rates apply) through the Nixle notification system. For more information or to sign up, visit https://local.nixle.com/register/. Additionally, information as it becomes available, will be immediately posted to the borough’s website www.SouthPlainfieldnj.com  and its Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/BoroughofSouthPlainfield?fref=ts