MORRISTOWN, NJ -  A study will be conducted to identify the options rehabilitating or replacing the busy but deteriorating Martin Luther King Avenue Bridge in Morristown.  The review will be financed by $400,000 in federal funds allocated by the North Jersey Transportation Planning Authority.

"We look forward to seeing the options identified by this study.  The MLK Avenue Bridge is an important connector for our community and improvements to its functionality are a priority for Morristown," said Mayor Tim Dougherty. “This project also corresponds well with the Town’s investment in the MLK streetscape.”

Built in 1900 and widened in 1928, the Martin Luther King Avenue Bridge is classified as structurally deficient and functionally obsolete. The stone arch bridge has two lanes and is 66-feet long. It masonry arches are deteriorating and separation is visible in the spandrel walls.

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“Each day, this 127-year-old bridge carries significant traffic across the Whippany River to access nearby residences, businesses and recreational sites,” said Morris County Freeholder Kathy DeFillippo, who represents the county on the NJTPA Board of Trustees. “This funding will allow us to study how best to move forward on improving the Martin Luther King Avenue Bridge.”

The bridge is located near residential and commercial buildings and has a high volume of pedestrian and vehicular traffic, and is a secondary commuter route into and out of downtown Morristown. It is adjacent to the Abbett Avenue playground and Patriot’s Path, a 35-mile trail in Morris County that stretches from East Hanover to Washington Township.

During the initial study phase, the county will identify and compare reasonable alternatives and strategies, and select a preferred alternative. Projects that complete this initial investigative work may be eligible for eventual construction with federal funds.

Funding will be provided for the Martin Luther King Avenue bridge study through NJTPA’s Fiscal Year 2018 Local Capital Project Delivery Program. That program awards grants to counties and cities to investigate all aspects of a project, including environmental, right of way access, design and feasibility issues.