Posted Thursday, September 12th, 2019
Openaki Road Bridge to Close Next week
The Openaki Road Bridge in Denville will be shut down next week because of emergency tree removal work that must be done at the dam, which is adjacent to the bridge.
A recent inspection found that trees growing on the dam have increased in size and so have their root systems, which are allowing water to jet through the earthen dam.
Since the dam is integral to the county bridge, the state Department of Environmental Protection’s Dam Safety Division is requiring that the trees be removed immediately.
The county had to wait for the water level behind the dam to become lower to allow for the cutting. Tree King has been hired for tree and stump removals starting on Monday (weather permitting), while the county Bridge Department will install concrete in the voids left by the removal of the stumps.
Denville officials were contacted about the situation and the municipality is working with the county on the bridge closure and detour route. The local school system also has been notified, while residents living adjacent to the bridge and dam received hand-delivered letters.
Variable message signs will be located on roads near the bridge to alert motorists
The busy Openaki Road Bridge in Denville is a one-lane span that crosses the Den Brook at Openaki Lake, at the Randolph border, where Openaki Road becomes Casterline Road. It underwent repairs last year to correct a structural flaw. The bridge is scheduled to be fully replaced in 2023.
The Openaki Road Bridge, a steel stringer structure, was built in 1924 and was rehabilitated in 1992, and repaired last year. The 15.5-foot-wide, 54-footlong bridge carries an average of 4,600 vehicles daily. It is posted to carry 13 tons.