Posted Friday, April 12th, 2019

The Morris County Board of Freeholders held their county government meeting in Chester Township on Wednesday evening, and as part of their presentation outlined pending or recently completed road projects in the township or nearby, which would impact local motorists.

Morris County Freeholders and Chester Township Mayor and Council pose for photo holding county resolution in the council chambers

Morris County Freeholders and Chester Township Mayor and Council

Freeholder Director Doug Cabana presented a resolution to the mayor and council, thanking Chester Township for being an excellent partner with county government over many decades and  appreciation for allowing county government to take over town hall for the evening.

“The reason for these county “road meetings” meetings is to meet county residents and officials in their hometowns, to bring the Freeholder Board out of the county seat in Morristown for a night and make it convenient for you to fill us in on issues of local importance,” said Freeholder Cabana.

The freeholders, he noted, visit seven towns across the county annually on a rotating basis. The board visited Chester Borough in 2017 and as last here in Chester Township on May 28, 2014. Other stops planned by the freeholders in 2019 include Florham Park, Mendham Township, Wharton, Washington Township, Montville, and Riverdale.

County Engineer Christopher Vitz stands next to easel holding photos of the Hacklebarney Road bridge project

County Engineer Christopher Vitz

County Engineer and Public Works Director Christopher Vitz told the audience — including members of the Chester Township Council, Chester Township Mayor Marcia Asdal and Chester Borough Mayor Janet Hoven — that work is planned on several road projects this year, and updated them on others.

  • Paving North Road / Dover Chester Road from 182 North Road to Sussex Turnpike. The project will be advertised on April 16, with bids to be taken April 30, and a contract expected to be awarded in May.
  • Paving Mill Road, Washington Turnpike and West Main Street from East Valley Brook Road to Route 206 west. This project is still under design and is expected to be done in late summer or fall.
  • Route 206 and Furnace Road: The Board of Freeholders recently year sent a letter to the state fully supporting the township’s and borough’s request for a dedicated left turn lanes at this intersection, and is pressing the state to move on the project.
  • NJDOT Route 206 and Main Street- Chester Borough: There has been a change in the state’s project engineers, and the county is waiting for an update from NJDOT.
  • County Wide Curve Warning Sign Replacement: The project is being bid and work should start in May.
  • Hacklebarney Road Bridge project has been completed. Repair work started October 29, 2018 where the bridge stayed open for the repairs of the parapet walls. The roadway was then closed for two months from the end of January, 2019 and reopened on April 1, 2019. The average daily traffic is 140 vehicles.

Some interesting facts about Chester Township:

  • Chester Township was incorporated on Jan. 29, 1799, seceding from Roxbury Township;
  • Chester Township originally was named Black River;
  • Chester Township was once an important stagecoach stop on the trip from New York, New Brunswick, and Morristown to Phillipsburg.
  • At one time there were seven water powered mills on the Black River between the Cooper Mill and the lower Hacklebarney Mill;
  • Chester Township offered a stop on the underground railroad used by freed or escaping slaves;
  • After 1875, Chester Township witnessed the opening of thirty-five iron mines or groups of mines;
  • In 1878 a furnace was built on Furnace Road to make pig iron for shipment to Dover and then by water on the Morris Canal to manufacturing facilities in Jersey City and Newark;
  • The Township currently houses the county’s oldest working grist mill, Cooper Gristmill, which is run by the Morris County Park Commission.

The Chester Township website has more detailed facts on the history of Chester Township and Chester Borough, or visit http://www.ilovechester.com/historicChester.php or http://www.historicchesternj.com/