Monday, March 20th, 2017
STATE PLANNING AGENCY — NJTPA — HAS APPROVED STUDY FUNDING
Morris County will oversee a study of options for rehabilitating or replacing the busy but deteriorating Martin Luther King Avenue Bridge in Morristown, with the review financed by $400,000 in federal funds allocated by the North Jersey Transportation Planning Authority.
“Each day, this 127-year-old bridge carries significant traffic across the Whippany River to access nearby residences, businesses and recreational sites,” said Morris County Freeholder Kathy DeFillippo, who represents the county on the NJTPA Board of Trustees. “This funding will allow us to study how best to move forward on improving the Martin Luther King Avenue Bridge.”
“We look forward to seeing the options identified by this study. The MLK Avenue Bridge is an important connector for our community and improvements to its functionality are a priority for Morristown,” said Mayor Tim Dougherty. “This project also corresponds well with the Town’s investment in the MLK streetscape.”
Built in 1900 and widened in 1928, the Martin Luther King Avenue Bridge is classified as structurally deficient and functionally obsolete. The stone arch bridge has two lanes and is 66-feet long. It masonry arches are deteriorating and separation is visible in the spandrel walls.
The bridge is located near residential and commercial buildings and has a high volume of pedestrian and vehicular traffic, and is a secondary commuter route into and out of downtown Morristown. It is adjacent to the Abbett Avenue playground and Patriot’s Path, a 35-mile trail in Morris County that stretches from East Hanover to Washington Township.
During the initial study phase, the county will identify and compare reasonable alternatives and strategies, and select a preferred alternative. Projects that complete this initial investigative work may be eligible for eventual construction with federal funds. More information on the program is available www.njtpa.org.
The NJTPA is the federally authorized Metropolitan planning organization for 6.7 million people in the 13-county northern New Jersey region. Each year, the NJTPA oversees more than $2 billion in transportation improvement projects and provides a forum for interagency cooperation and public input.
It also sponsors and conducts studies, assists county planning agencies and monitors compliance with national air quality goals.
Funding will be provided for the Martin Luther King Avenue bridge study through NJTPA’s Fiscal Year 2018 Local Capital Project Delivery Program. That program awards grants to counties and cities to investigate all aspects of a project, including environmental, right of way access, design and feasibility issues.
Local Concept Development is the first phase of the Local Capital Project Delivery Program, which guides projects from initial concepts all the way to construction.