ROXBURY TOWNSHIP, NJ (Morris County) – The 120-year-old Chester Branch Railroad trestle over Berkshire Valley Road reopened Friday to rail service after being damaged over a week ago by a truck accident.
Engineers initially estimated the road and trestle would need to be closed for up to a month while conducting repair work, but contractors were able to obtain steel replacement beams and make repairs on an expedited schedule.
Motorists traveling under the trestle will continue to alternate use of one lane, with the traffic controlled by electronic signals, as repairs continue to be made to the trestle.
A large truck had slammed into the trestle on July 13 causing significant damage.
Berkshire Valley Road is a major route for commercial trucking, stretching from Route 46 in Kenvil to North Dell Avenue. However, truck traffic is limited by the fact that passing trucks cannot be higher than 11 feet, 5 inches because of the trestle. The clearance limit is noted on large signs for truckers to observe.
The trestle, located in the Kenvil section of Roxbury Township near the intersection of North Dell Avenue and Berkshire Valley Road, was initially erected in the late 19th Century to allow the railroad line to pass over a portion of the Morris Canal. The canal was eventually abandoned, the area filled in and Berkshire Valley Road took its place.
Morris County maintains the railroad trestle as part of the Chester Branch Railroad system, which The Dover Rockaway River Railroad uses for freight deliveries. The trail line extends westward into Mount Olive Township. The North Jersey Transportation Planning Authority began a study in February designed to elevate the trestle.
While the project is still years from being finalized, the goal is to improve and maintain the freight rail service and to improve the traffic pattern along Berkshire Valley Road and North Dell Avenue.