ROXBURY, NJ – Replacing the 108-year-old bridge over the railroad tracks and former Morris Canal in Landing, a project that’s been discussed for more than a decade, is now projected to happen in 2019, according to officials.
The $6.1 million, state-funded project would include significant improvement to the Landing Road/Lakeside Boulevard intersection, including the installation of sidewalks, said Assistant Morris County Engineer Roslyn Khurdan. The new bridge would be four lanes wide.
Khurdan and Morris County Engineer Christopher Vitz made a presentation this week to the Roxbury Mayor and Council. She showed the local officials drawings of the preferred plan and an alternative idea for a “bypass.” Khurdan said the recommended plan is about $9 million less expensive than the bypass route.
Plans for replacing the old bridge began in 2003, said Khurdan. In 2006, the project received an official “resolution of support,” but then “sat in” the state Department of Transportation (DOT) for five years. Under the current plan, the state would acquire 20 property easements and remove buildings at 105 Lakeside Blvd., 109 Lakeside Blvd. and 119 Lakeside Blvd., said Khurdan. This would take place in 2018.
Public information sessions on the project are likely to be conducted next year.
Roxbury Township Manager Christopher Raths said the bridge and intersection project is a key part of the township’s vision for improving the appearance of Landing. “This is an opportunity for a tremendous gateway to a very important part of the community,” said Raths at the meeting.
He said he will ask the county, which owns Landing Road, to consider extending the proposed new sidewalks all the way to the new softball field complex now under construction.
Roxbury Mayor Jim Rilee said the Landing bridge project “went by the wayside” for a long time. “Now the money is in place,” he said. “There are a lot of things that are slow to start.”
Joe Macasek, president of the Canal Society of New Jersey, stressed the importance of doing the project properly – with cognizance of the historical importance of the bridge and surroundings. The bridge was built in 1907. Former Canal Society President Robert Barth pointed out that the structure was the last bridge built to span the Morris Canal before the canal was taken out of service.