Posted Thursday, March 8th, 2012

The New Jersey Department of Transportation has announced the reconstruction of the Route 202 bridge over the Passaic River that connects Bernards Township in Somerset County and Harding Township in Morris County.

The $3 million federally-funded project will demolish and replace the existing, structurally deficient bridge.

NJDOT will also install new guide rail and resurface the bridge approaches between N. Maple Avenue/Childs Drive (CR 613) and Shale Brook Drive. NJDOT said the existing bridge was built in 1924 and is located within an environmentally protected area.

Preliminary construction activities, including sign installation, survey work and utility relocation, are underway.

Route 202 carries one travel lane in each direction over the bridge with a three-foot wide shoulder. NJDOT said it will construct the project in stages using single lane closures during off peak hours with alternating traffic and a planned full closure of the bridge in both directions for one week.

During certain critical demolition operations, the contractor will also need to close the bridge in both directions overnight for a limited number of nights. NJDOT said it will maintain all travel lanes on the bridge daily between 6 a.m. and 8 p.m.

The new bridge deck will be manufactured off site and installed by the contractor over a one week period, tentatively planned for late-summer, enabling NJDOT to significantly shorten the construction schedule and minimize the overall impacts to traffic and the local business community.

NJDOT said it will provide notification to the public in advance of the planned week-long Route 202 closure. According to NJDOT, the planned detour routes are:

• Route 202 northbound motorists will be detoured via N. 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 N. Maple Avenue to Route 202.

Approximately 10,000 vehicles use this bridge every day to cross the Passaic River. NJDOT has coordinated with local officials from both towns and counties throughout the design process.

The project is expected to be complete in fall 2012, the agency said.

Variable message signs will notify motorists of upcoming traffic pattern changes. 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 real-time travel information.