Bridge Opening Pushed to October
By Rebecca K. Abma
The Lake Avenue Bridge project nearing completion.
"I told him if he's giving me a month and a day, I want a year attached to it," he joked, referring to the county's repeated extensions for the project's completion.
The $1.37 million project to replace a the structurally deficient bridge began in August of 2012. Initially, it was reported the work would be completed in six months, then a year. County officials cite Hurricane Sandy for the delay, however, the date has continued to be pushed back. In July, the county engineer said it would be completed by the end of August.
The bridge, which serves as a short cut from Midland Park to Ridgewood, was originally built in 1897 by the F.R. Long Company and was widened in 1931 to allow for sidewalks. Its original decorative railing was removed and concrete parapets were constructed.
The bridge was listed on the New Jersey Register of Historic Places as the only known highway bridge in the state to use both steel arch and brick jack arch construction. According to Masonry & Metal: Historic Bridges of New Jersey, by Richard Grubb, the brick jack arches spanned the area between six arched I-beams, which functioned as ribs between the jack arches. The bridge was widened in 1931 to add sidewalks and its original decorative railing was removed and concrete parapets were constructed.
According to a report in the Villadom Times, more than 11,000 vehicles cross the bridge daily. The new bridge will be able to accommodate 25-ton three axle box trucks, increased from 17 tons, and 40-ton five axle trucks, increased from 35 tons.
The extended time frame of the bridge repair has resulted in increased traffic and accidents in the area as well as difficulties for businesses.
Bonus fact: The street is named Lake Avenue because the stream used to flow into a culvert into a pond.