SPRINGFIELD, NJ — A plan is in the process of being finalized to replace a Springfield bridge that supports the section of Morris Avenue that runs over the Rahway River between Union and Springfield. The eight-week project is tentatively set for the spring of 2022.
During the eight weeks, the bridge will be totally unusable and the New Jersey Department of Transportation (NJDOT) will utilize temporary traffic patterns. As this is a major point of travel between Springfield and Union, the NJDOT has laid out a proposed set of routes around the closed bridge and anticipates changing the timing of certain stoplights to allow the increased traffic from bridge detours to flow smoother.
Representatives from Union’s emergency services and the NJDOT attended an information meeting hosted by Springfield Township Monday afternoon.
"The whole purpose of the project is to replace the bridge," said Lynn Middleton, NJDOT Project Manager. Middleton said that the bridge has been in the NJDOT's sights for a time, and with technology for bridge construction improving, it is now 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," Middleton added.
Township of Union Business Administrator Don Travisano said Union’s biggest concern is response time in getting to and from Overlook Medical Center. “It will take longer to get there and in turn, will take that much longer for our ambulances to get back into town,” said Travisano. “As a result, we have begun strategizing and planning alternatives in order to maintain our customary response times.”
Travisano said the township will also be communicating with residents "so they know to avoid the area during construction to the greatest extent possible”.
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Bridge renovation plans call for fewer arches on the bridge, thereby reducing debris collection and improving river flow, resulting in decreased river flooding in the immediate areas.
"This design, unlike the other one which would have taken six or seven months to build, they're saying they can get it done in eight weeks," Michael Furci, Rahway Valley Sewerage Authority (RVSA) Commissioner from Springfield said. "It seems like the best solution at this point."
"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."