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Bridge Repairs Start In June, Road Detours Planned For Long Valley

Feb 05, 2024

LONG VALLEY, NJ — Morris County officials held an informational meeting this summer to discuss any potential concerns as they get ready to repair the South Branch bridge on Schooley's Mountain Road.

The meeting was held on May 25 at Town Hall, 43 Schooley's Mountain Road, in collaboration with the Morris County Engineering Department.

During the May 25 meeting, engineer Brian Derr of Johnson, Mirmiran, and Thompson Inc. provided a brief overview of the Schooley's Mountain bridge project.

The construction plans call for inspecting and repointing the arches, replacing the soil material above the arches with lightweight concrete, installing a waterproof membrane, restoring the stone parapet walls, and repaving the roadway.

Construction will not begin until after June 15, when school is out for the summer, in order to reduce traffic around the schools, according to Washington Township Mayor Matt Murello.

Although the majority of the work will not begin until after June 15, officials have stated that crews may be working beneath the bridge as early as June 1.

"They might start working on the arches that don't have water underneath them, that they can access without having to be on top of the bridge," Derr said.

Southbound traffic (coming down Schooley's Mountain towards the intersection with Route 513) will be detoured for the duration of the construction. For the first stage, which will last approximately 51 days, northbound traffic will be maintained across the bridge.

The entire bridge will be closed for 21 calendar days during stage two.

Flocktown Road to Naughright Road to Bartley Road back to East Mill Road will be the main detour route. Residents and drivers who are used to using Schooley's Mountain Road will notice a significant change.

Derr said they plan on having signs and electronic flashing boards to alert residents of the changes. "Those are going to be placed strategically to warn trucks that they have to turn at Flocktown, go down Naughright and come down Bartley Road to get back to 513."

Officials stated that no construction work is planned for Sundays, but there is a possibility of some construction work on Saturdays and during the week. However, if the project takes longer than expected, they may be forced to work on Sundays.

"But we won't do that without notification to the town," Derr said.

"What's important is that everyone during the summer will have access from north or south to all the township facilities, the senior center, everything in Rock Spring Park, as well as all the way down to the church. It's just going to have to be a little creative," Murello said.

According to Murello, this is a three-month project that is required to maintain the bridge's structural integrity. The planned work will hopefully secure the bridge for the next 30 to 40 years, Derr said.

There are no plans at this time to have police officers monitor traffic flow during the construction period, but Murello stated that if the need arises, they will work with the police to ensure the safety of township residents.

"This is not going to be a fun place to drive around this summer. Sorry. But this is one of those things when you have historic structures, like we have, especially ones that everybody drives over 12 times a day, eventually, it has to be replaced. It's better to do it proactively than to have it fall down and then have the process of a year or so trying to get it rebuilt, which we don't want to have," Murello said.

Vianella Burns