LITTLE FALLS/WOODLAND PARK, NJ - The Township of Little Falls and the Borough of Woodland Park passed resolutions last week to comply with a short term closure of Notch Road Bridge by the New Jersey Department of Transportation (NJDOT), allowing construction on the bridge to be expedited. Transportation officials have not yet announced when the bridge would close.
The bridge work is tied into a multi-phase project that the NJDOT is undertaking. The six-year plan, of which the first phase began in 2016, addresses the junction of Route 3 and Route 46, and the ramps on and off the highways in the surrounding area.
Notch Road Bridge is an important link connecting Little Falls and Woodland Park and providing convenient access to Route 46. It crosses over Route 46 and connects Notch Road with Rifle Camp Road and Lackawanna Avenue.
At the Aug. 14 Little Falls Township Council workshop meeting, Mayor James Damiano discussed the need for a complete temporary shutdown of the bridge in order to decrease the closure time. He addressed the NJDOT's plans to reconfigure the Route 46/Route 3 corridor. He also spoke of his recent attendance to a county meeting with NJDOT representatives, with Charles Cuccia, township clerk.
According to Damiano, transportation officials gave municipalities two options for the bridge work. One was to keep the bridge open to traffic, but would take about a year to complete.
"The bridge is very short and would be reduced to 10-foot lanes - the width of a parking space," Damiano said.
Local planning engineers who were consulted felt allowing the bridge to remain open during construction could cause traffic issues for the duration of the year. NJDOT officials preferred the bridge to be completely shut down, which would cut down the construction time and completion to approximately three months.
"After consulting with some of the local professionals, it seemed like the DOT was leaning towards the second option," he noted. "They asked that the council sign a resolution approving closure of this bridge. This is what came out of much discussion and a lot of consideration for the temporary closure of Notch Road Bridge. It would avoid a traffic disaster."
In Woodland Park, the Borough Council also passed a resolution in support of the short term closure at its Aug. 16 meeting.
“The short term inconvenience far outweighs the year plus of delays,” said Woodland Park Mayor Keith Kazmark. “We understand why residents would disagree with our decision but we wanted to expedite the DOT’s project.”