ROXBURY, NJ - The people brainstorming about upgrades to the "Landing Gateway" area of Roxbury are beginning to unveil their ideas, some of which borrow from the past in order to make a better looking future.
A big example: The latest architectural plan for the new bridge that will span the NJ Transit railroad tracks and former Morris Canal.
Plans for the new Landing Road Bridge were first presented in late 2015, but county and local officials have continued to discuss the $6 million span's appearance. At a recent meeting of the Roxbury Mayor and Council, township planner Russell Stern presented the latest artist renditions of the new 4-lane structure. The pictures display a bridge that purposely looks very similar to the 2-lane span built in 1907 by the Delaware, Lackawanna and Western Railroad.
"The design that was selected by the Landing Gateway Committee involves a concrete treatment of the bridge and incorporates metal railing which historically harkens back to the original bridge design for this site," Stern said.
Stern also said there has been much talk about improving the appearance of the wall that faces Landing Road motorists after they cross the bridge and enter Lakeside Boulevard. "There have been many discussions with the county about refacing the existing concrete wall … with stone type material and removal of that 5-foot high, very dense wire fence," said the planner.
He also spoke about plans to develop the recently named Landing Gateway Park, a small peninsula on Lake Hopatcong off Lakeside Boulevard near the Landing Road Bridge. The land is owned by the state Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) which is willing to license it to Roxbury but wanted more information about the township's plans, Stern said.
He said the design for the park "really caters to fisherman, boaters, young parents, children, seniors and the physically disabled." The site will have a pathway that "reaches the water's edge in two locations so the physically disabled can access those vantage points."
Stern said the little park will be landscaped with flowr beds, decorative lights that will match those being planned for the new bridge, a flagpole, boat cleats, a dock for the Miss Lotta Lake Hopatcong cruise boat or lake taxi boats, benches and more.
"The design element will include a variety of factors," Stern said. "As you come into the site, with the realignment of Landing Road Bridge, the view is going to be opened up as a result of the demolition of some existing structures."
Roxbury Mayor Mark Crowley said he was pleased with the way the proposed improvements to the area are shaping up. "We've been meeting on Landing Gateway for three years now and it's great to see things finally moving forward," he said.