SOUTH ORANGE, NJ - South Orange Village Trustee Howard Levison clarified the timeline of issues related to the River Greenway project, as well as his opinion on the cause of delays to the construction process.

In a previous interview with TAPinto SOMA, Levison discussed an abandoned bridge and pump house on the site of the River Greenway project. He cited vandalism and safety concerns as two major reasons that the structures present a danger to the community, but near the start of the planning process the bridge was declared historic by the State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO).

Levison recently restated that “the assumption that the old bridge is of historic significance remains the basic issue.”

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Levison confirmed that representatives from the New Jersey Department of Transportation (NJDOT) and the SHPO met with trustees in early 2016 to discuss the construction plan.

“In the first review by SHPO, they allowed the demolition of the bridge, since it had been designated hazardous and fenced to block [pedestrians] crossing,” said Levison. “The only condition was leaving the abutments--which would seem questionable since the new bridge would cover them, no less use them.”

SHPO then forbid the demolition of any part of the existing bridge structure, according to Levison. This has required an estimated $50,000 revision to the planned project, as well as the costs that will be associated with the preparation of a new location.

“[This] will most likely increase the cost of the bridge and pathway, and [it] has caused significant implementation delays,” said Levison.

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