SPRINGFIELD, NJ — In anticipation of a New Jersey Department of Transportation (NJDOT) project scheduled to start in later this decade, the township hosted an information presentation at the municipal building from 4:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. yesterday afternoon.
The plan is to replace the bridge that supports the section of Morris Avenue that runs over the Rahway River between Springfield and Union. The current bridge is over a century old, and is in need of work to ensure that the roadway stays secure.
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While the information sessions are taking place now, construction on the bridge and surrounding areas is expected to commence in Spring of 2022.
Lynn Middleton, NJDOT Project Manager for the bridge project was in attendance at the information session, and spoke with TAPinto Springfield about the project. "The whole purpose of the project is to replace the bridge," she said.
Middleton also said that the bridge has been in the DOT's sights for a time, and with technology for bridge construction finally improving, now is the time for the project to move forward.
"it's been in our pipeline for a while," Middleton said. "And [bridges] don't get better as time goes on. So we should be out in a couple years for construction. The designer has come up with a prefabricated system. That's why we finally think we can do it so quickly."
"We just want to replace the bridge and make sure it's in good stead for the next hundred years," she added.
Another added benefit to the renovations is that with fewer arches on the bridge collecting debris and restricting the river's flow, flooding in the immediate areas around the river should decrease.
As the bridge is a major point of travel between Springfield and Union, detours will be necessary. The DOT has laid out a proposed set of routes around the closed bridge, which can be seen in the photo gallery, and anticipates changing the timing of certain stoplights to allow the increased traffic from bridge detours to flow smoother.
One of the people in attendance was Michael Furci. Furci is the Rahway Valley Sewerage Authority (RVSA) Commissioner from Springfield, and also sits on the flood mitigation committee in town. He had praise for the plans he saw.
"This design, unlike the other one which would have took six or seven months to build, they're saying they can get it done in eight weeks," Furci said. "It seems like the best solution at this point."
Furci also said that the single archway design in the renderings would help alleviate the debris that can catch up on the smaller arches of the current bridge, something that the current design will look to improve upon.
At the end of the day, the main goal of the project is to replace the bridge and secure the roadway. Middleton said that along with all the other reasons for construction, keeping the roadway and bridges safe is of the highest priority in the project for the DOT.
"This is one of a few routes through this area," Middleton said. "So it's vital to maintain this structure which is why we want to replace it, we want to do it as quickly as possible because of the detours, and we really want people to know and be aware beforehand of the detours, so they can plan ahead as much as possible and brace themselves."