Hilltoppers Frustrated over Bridge Construction Shut Down

carousel_image_8b7e57ce2f296ea33565_d45e54c0b46b0f6a61f6_b6f9b799414b6eccb999_20160711_134643The opening of Summit schools brings plenty of anticipation and excitement, and perhaps a little anxiety.  Anxiety not only about the upcoming academic year, but about the traffic snarls caused by the shut down of the Morris Avenue Bridge.  The bridge connects the two sides of the city and is one of the main roadways to several of Summit’s public and private schools.

On June 30, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie issued Executive Order No. 210, ordering the shutdown of transportation projects throughout New Jersey.  This caused work on Summit’s 18-months-long Morris Avenue Bridge project to come to a screeching halt on July 8.  New Jersey State Senate President Stephen Sweeney has said that the freeze (which has shut down construction on the Morris Avenue bridge project) will last into the fall and perhaps past the November elections.

The bridge is an integral part of downtown Summit’s transportation loop and goes over the New Jersey Transit’s Morris & Essex rail line.  After years of discussion and planning, the bridge was closed on  August 11, 2015 for rehabilitation to improve structural integrity, increase load carrying capacity, and improve traffic, pedestrian and railroad safety. New Jersey Transit is responsible for the bridge replacement, with funding from the State Transportation Trust Fund.

Summit Mayor Nora Radest, disappointed and frustrated by the construction shutdown, has been working with Common Council to address the issue.   She has said that even after the Transportation Fund issue is resolved  it will take several weeks or months for work to resume on the bridge replacement project and that will push the project completion date well past the original completion date of Spring 2017. In fact, some have said that it could take up to a year from the re-start date for the bridge to be completed.

So, hang in there Hilltoppers.  Pack your patience when you pack those lunches.  We’re in for a bumpy, and likely very slow, ride.

 

 

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Author: Patricia Cassin

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