UNION, NJ – A public hearing regarding reforestation efforts surrounding the planned replacement of the Route 22 bridge over Chestnut Street was held at Town Hall Tuesday evening hosted by the New Jersey Department of Transportation and Arora and Associates Consulting Engineers.

The bridge is slated to be replaced beginning sometime in 2019, said Director, Environmental Services from Arora and Associates Thomas DiChiara.  “This is a bridge built in the 1920s,” he said.  It is estimated the replacement will take one and-a-half- to two-years.

The public meeting specifically outlined the reforestation and permanent utility easement necessitated by the project.  However, the project itself was also discussed including the diversion of traffic during construction.  According to Arora and Associates Project Engineer Adele Roscioli a temporary roadway will be built prior to bridge demolition, so there will continue to be two lanes of roadway each way, carrying traffic west- and eastbound on Route 22 throughout the project.  The work will be done in stages and there is no significant traffic impact anticipated.  The project will require some overnight work on Chestnut Street with detours in place.

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Over 400 trees will be planted in at least ten parks around Union.  The utility easement is required since the new bridge will be wider than the existing bridge, requiring the clearing of land and new utility lines over Green Acres property.

“This is a transportation project for Route 22 to address a dilapidated bridge, but it will be esthetically pleasing on Chestnut Street, matching the fabric of the neighborhood when complete”, said Township Committeewoman Michele Delisfort.

Roscioli said the new bridge columns and abutments will be brick face to match the look of nearby Connecticut Farms Church and school.  A new walkway and new lighting under the bridge will be installed.

A public information session will be held sometime prior to the project beginning.