Posted Saturday, July 14th, 2018

Dedicate Historic Marker and Panel for Flanders-Drakestown Road Bridge Project 

The Morris County Board of Freeholders joined with Mount Olive’s Mayor and Council on Wednesday (July 11) to celebrate the completion of the Flanders-Drakestown Road Bridge project, and especially give a nod to the historic component of the rehabilitation effort.

photo shows officials at the new Mt. Olive historial marker attown hall. (l/r) County Assistant Engineer Roslyn Khurdan, Mount Olive Historian Thea Dunkle, Freeholder Kathy DeFillippo, County heritage Commission Acting Director Peg Shultz, Freeholder Deborah Smith, Mayor Rob Greenbaum, Freeholders Doug Cabana and Heather Darling

(l/r) County Assistant Engineer Roslyn Khurdan, Mount Olive Historian Thea Dunkle, Freeholder Kathy DeFillippo, County heritage Commission Acting Director Peg Shultz, Freeholder Deborah Smith, Mayor Rob Greenbaum, Freeholders Doug Cabana and Heather Darling

The bridge, built in 1860, had extensive deterioration and required major repairs for public safety, especially since it is a main route to the township’s intermediate school, high school and municipal complex.

As part of the $1.5 million county bridge project completed earlier this year, efforts were successfully made to have the bridge retain as much of its original look as possible.

Photo of the new Flanders-Drakestown Road Bridge

New Flanders-Drakestown Road Brige

Stone masonry and capstones from the original bridge, including some original stones that included carvings of the names of area residents, were used in the project. The result is a modern and safe bridge with a bit of an old look that garnered high praise on Wednesday from Mayor Rob Greenbaum and the Township Council.

The Freeholder Board met with the mayor and council in Mount Olive on Wednesday to dedicate a new historic interpretive panel located outside of town hall, and also to note the installation of a historic marker at the bridge – both compliments of the Morris County Heritage Commission.

“We are really glad to see how well this bridge project turned out, and thank residents of Mount Olive for their patience in having their daily lives rerouted due to the bridge closure,’’ said Freeholder Director Doug Cabana. “The goal was to provide a new, safe bridge and do it in a manner that pleased the township.’’

Photo: Mount Olive Historian Thean Dunkle talks about the township's history as the mayor and freeholders look on

Mount Olive Historian Thean Dunkle talks about the township’s history as the mayor and freeholders look on

Joining the Freeholder Board and Mayor Rob Greenbaum and council members at the ceremony were Peg Shultz, archivist and Acting Director of the Morris County Heritage Commission; Thea Dunkle, president of the Mount Olive Historical Society and the Mount Olive Township Historian; and Roslyn Khurdan, assistant county engineer, who worked on the bridge project.

Here are some facts about the Flanders-Drakestown Road Bridge, which sits over the South Branch of the Raritan River:

  • It was built in 1860, as a 22.5-foot wide stone masonry arch bridge;
  • It carries nearly a thousand vehicles daily;
  • Extensive deterioration of the arches, with bulging, leaning, cracking and structural problems plagued the bridge, which was found to be structurally deficient;
  • The new bridge is a precast concrete arch bridge, that is 30-feet wide;
  • Existing stone masonry and capstones were reused on the new bridge, including stone with the carving of the names of residents from the previous bridge;
  • Reivax Contracting of Newark did the $1.45 million bid project, with $1 million provide by the state;
  • Construction was completed in April after a some delays due to harsh winter weather.