ROXBURY TOWNSHIP, NJ (Morris County) – Morris County and the North Jersey Transportation Planning Authority (NJTPA) are reminding the public, particularly residents of Roxbury Township, that the public comment period on the “Berkshire Valley Road Truck Circulation Project” is open until Nov. 5.
The project includes options to elevate the Chester Branch Railroad trestle that has been the scene of many collisions, including this past summer.
The trestle, which has an 11-feet-5-inch clearance level, was slammed into and damaged by a dump truck on July 13, forcing the closure of Berkshire Valley Road and the railroad line, delaying rail and vehicle traffic in the area.
The Morris County and NJTPA study, which was outlined at a public virtual meeting on Sept. 21 will develop and evaluate potential options to eliminate the height restriction that the Chester Branch rail bridge poses on Berkshire Valley Road.
To learn more and view a recording of the presentation, visit the project website: www.berkshirevalleyroadstudy.com/.
The study will also explore potential improvements to better accommodate truck movements at the intersection of Berkshire Valley Road and North Dell Avenue. Safety will be improved and the project will allow for a more direct truck route on Berkshire Valley Road that avoids the residential areas along North Dell Avenue.
The low overhead clearance where the Morris County-owned Chester Branch trestle crosses over Berkshire Valley Road restricts the height of trucks that can travel on the road. This height restriction requires larger vehicles to divert to North Dell Avenue when using Berkshire Valley Road to travel between I-80 and Route 46.
Despite advance warning signs and postings on the bridge, there have been numerous truck collisions with the trestle that often result in the bridge being taken out of service for repairs, impacting both rail freight service and traffic on Berkshire Valley Road. In addition, the layout of the Berkshire Valley Road and North Dell Avenue intersection makes it difficult for trucks to navigate.
The NJTPA is managing and funding this study through its Freight Concept Development Program. Preferred alternatives for improving the bridge and intersection will be selected at the conclusion of the study, which will allow for these projects to be eligible for funding for design and construction.