Route 202 Stretch to be Closed by Bridge Replacement
Starting Saturday, main route linking northern Somerset with Morris County will be closed in both directions for a week.
The Route 202 bridge over the Passaic River, just north of Grain House Restaurant where Bernards Township in Somerset County connects with Harding Township in Morris County, is scheduled to close for a full week beginning Saturday evening to allow a new bridge to be installed, state officials announced Thursday.
Beginning around 7 p.m. Saturday, the New Jersey Department of Transportation will close Route 202 in both directions over the bridge across a span of the Passaic River at the northern Basking Ridge border.
During the time leading up to when the bridge is estimated to reopen at approximately 7 p.m. next Saturday, Aug. 25, NJDOT’s contractor, Joseph Sanzari, Inc., will demolish the existing, structurally deficient bridge and replace it with a new pre-cast concrete bridge which has been manufactured off site, the DOT announced.
The bridge was built in 1924 and is crossed each day by about 10,000 vehicles, according to the DOT.
The $3 million project, outlined at public meetings last year, was begun in March. Route 202, a major route heading north to Morristown, was kept open since then while preliminary and preparation work was performed at the site.
The bridge replacement was to be carried out in three stages, with the laying of a precast bridge in place the last phase, according to a letter sent out in Februrary by the state Department of Transportation.
The DOT, and Tom Timko, Bernards Township engineer had said earlier this year that during the anticipated seven-day closure period, the old bridge will be demolished and a new bridge, already prefabricated, will be laid in place on a substructure to be constructed earlier in the project.
The use of pre-cast concrete bridge components enables NJDOT to significantly shorten the construction schedule and minimize the overall impact to traffic and the local business community, according to the DOT's announcement this week.
The DOT said earlier this year that the new bridge deck would be manufactured off site and installed by the contractor over the one-week period that is tentatively planned for late-summer. The project is expected to be finally completed in the fall, according to the DOT.
During the week the old bridge is being removed and the new one laid in place, there will be a total closure on the road between North Maple Avenue and Shalebrook Drive, McArthur said earlier in August.
Local drivers had been asked to an plan alternate route, McArthur said.
The planned detour routes, as advised by the DOT, are:
- Route 202 northbound motorists will be detoured via North Maple Avenue to Lee’s Hill Road to Glen Alpine Road to Route 202.
- Route 202 southbound motorists will be detoured via Glen Alpine Road to Lee’s Hill Road to North Maple Avenue to Route 202.
A temporary traffic signal will be utilized to control access to and from Shalebrook Drive at Route 202, located north of the bridge in Harding, the DOT said.
The traffic signal already was up along the highway on Thursday afternoon. Variable message signs also were being put in place to notify motorists of the closure and associated detours.
Work to be done before local schools start up again
This week-long closure was originally scheduled to take place this fall. However, through the combined efforts and coordination of NJDOT, Sanzari Inc., and the local officials this closure will now take place in August, before local schools begin classes, the DOT said.
The federally-funded project began construction activity in March with survey work, utility relocation and bridge abutment repair. NJDOT's plans also were to upgrade the existing guide rail and resurface the bridge approaches between N. Maple Avenue and Childs Road (CR 613) and Shale Brook Drive.
As planned prior to the start of construction, outside of this week-long closure, NJDOT has maintained all travel lanes on the bridge daily between 6 a.m. and 8 p.m. during the preceding construction.
The precise timing of the work is subject to change due to weather or other factors. Motorists are encouraged to check NJDOT’s traffic information website www.511nj.org for real-time travel information.