WASHINGTON TOWNSHIP, NJ (Morris County) – Morris County will begin rehabilitation of the bridge on Schooley’s Mountain Road in the German Valley Historic District on Friday, June 16, the day after schools close in Washington Township.
The current four-span stone arch bridge crossing over the South Branch of the Raritan River constructed in 1906 (to replace the original structure built in 1876) is a historic landmark in Long Valley and a vital link for local residents. Substantial restoration work was completed in 1994 that included installation of steel arches to aid in structural support under the stone work, but the downstream (western) stone spandrel wall has deteriorated to the point of needing full reconstruction above the arches.
The $1,008,000 project, funded by Morris County, will include rebuilding the downstream wall and removal of all material above the stone arches. The plans call for the installation of light weight concrete and a new waterproof membrane to be placed on top of the arches that will extend the life of the bridge another 30-40 years.
In addition, travelers can enjoy a newly paved riding surface after the work is complete. No rehabilitation will occur on the upstream wall as it is still in excellent shape after a walkway and concrete reinforcement were added on that side of the bridge in 1994.
Work is scheduled to occur over two phases. During the first 51 days while the contractor removes and reconstructs the spandrel wall, the southbound lane of Schooley’s Mountain Road will be closed and northbound traffic will be permitted to cross the bridge. Once the wall has been reconstructed, the bridge will be fully closed for the remainder of the project to allow the contractor to remove and replace all material above the stone arches. This work is expected to take 21 days to complete, with the goal of finishing the entire project by the time school reopens on August 23, 2023.
Detours for southbound traffic will utilize Flocktown Road to Naughright Road to Bartley Road during phase 1. When the bridge is entirely closed during phase 2, the same detour will be used for both directions of travel. Temporary traffic signals will be installed at Flocktown Road and Naughright Road, as well as at Naughright Road and Fairview Avenue for the duration of the project.
Morris County officials are working hard to ensure that the project is completed on time and with minimal disruption to residents. Motorists are encouraged to plan their journeys accordingly and to use the detour route to avoid delays.
CMS Construction Corporation of Plainfield, New Jersey, the lowest responsible bidder, is the contractor on the project.
The much-needed restoration follows emergency repairs completed on Feb. 2, 2023, due to damage caused by a motor vehicle accident. The new work will be much more extensive and ensure the bridge continues to be of use well into the future.
“While the county understands this is a hardship to anyone commuting this section of Schooley’s Mountain Road, this historic arch bridge has served the community for nearly 150 years and residents can look forward to having a safer, better-looking bridge in a few short months,’ officials said.