Drivers along Route 202 just north of the railroad tracks in Far Hills can blink and miss the short concrete culvert under the roadway constructed in 1900 — but the closure and replacement of the concrete structure is expected to create detours to affect most Somerset Hills towns for about eight weeks next summer.
N.J. Department of Transportation spokesman Timothy Greeley last week confirmed that NJDOT has a project in the works for 2014 to replace the "structurally-deficient" culvert under a trickling tributary of the Mine Brook under both directions of Route 202 at milepost 33.2 in Far Hills.
Bedminster officials had received some details of the project at a Township Committee meeting earlier this month, when the municipality was asked to give its blessing to the project and a detour that would impact Bedminster, and also apparently Bernards Township.
The Bedminster Township Committee complied, although Bedminster Mayor Steve Parker noted, "I suspect that whether we pass this resolution or not, we are going to have to deal with this."
Route 202 also is a main artery between Route 202/206 heading north into Bernardsville Borough.
The culvert will be replaced with an entirely new in-kind concrete structure that will cost a little more than $1 million, Greeley said.
The state DOT's schedule shows the final design phase wrapping up by the end of this year, with the state seeking contract bids in early 2014 and construction to take place during July and August, when schools are out, Greeley said in an email next week.
The state also must obtain environmental permits before construction can begin, Greeley said.
The project will be funded through the 'Culvert Replacement' line item in DOT's capital projects program for fiscal year 2014, Greeley said. Capital Program.
Greeley said he also can confirm that the construction plan would involve a detour, tentatively planned to last approximately two months.
He said that both Bedminster and Far Hills had approved the detour route with a corresponding request that the work take place only during the summer school recess.
The planned detour is for local traffic to be routed onto Liberty Corner Road to Douglas Road to Mine Brook Road.
He said the DOT has a consultant who would adjust any traffic lights or make other traffic adjustments during the planned eight-week detour period.
He said project in 2007 on Rte. 202 in Bedminster for a different Mine Brook culvert that had a similar detour.