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Bird Flies Coop, Elm Street Bridge Rehab Begins

The Elm Street Bridge, which connects Oradell and New Milford will finally undergo construction starting this month to be brought up to federal safety standards

Now that the nesting season is over for the Elm Street Bridge heron, rehabilitation work can officially begin following the . The heron, which created a nest near the bridge, has delayed construction since April 5.

The $1 million County-funded project includes widening the bridge by two-feet and increasing the weigh limit from three-tons to 40-tons so it meets federal standards. Oradell had previously approved weight and speed restrictions for the bridge to keep commercial vehicles and Transit buses from using it as a shortcut from Elm Street to New Milford Avenue.

The  has been closed to vehicular traffic since June 2008. Owned by Bergen County, the bridge splits Elm Street, a borough owned road that leads from Oradell into New Milford.

It's 76-feet long and 20-feet wide but due to age and the constant flooding in the area, there has been significant damage and deterioration to the stringer beams underneath the metal bridge decking. 

All of the original iron work that is visible when looking at the bridge will be refurbished and reinstalled on the new bridge so as to retain the look and character of the original bridge.

For the past few years, the Oradell Mayor and Council have received reports from Bergen County engineer Joseph Femia regarding the potential rehabilitation of the bridge. Previously at the intersections of Elm Street and Bergen Blvd along with Elm Street and Center Street.

Construction work on the bridge was expected to begin this week on July 2 but more than likely will actually start following the July 4 holiday. There is no set completion date to bring the bridge up to federal standards.

Have a question or news tip? Contact editor Eamon Harbord at Eamon.Harbord@patch.com, or find us on Facebook and Twitter. For news straight to your inbox, sign up for our daily newsletter.

Lynn July 02, 2012 at 02:29 PM
Fantastic! So happy to hear that the herons were considered in this decision and even happier that the bridge work will begin again. Too bad for the guy who wrote to The Record (or Town News) 2 years ago saying he didn't want the bridge opened because he didn't care about the people of New Milford and the convenience the bridge provides. Nice neighbor! Well, see ya soon!
lucky July 02, 2012 at 03:10 PM
Wonderful news - it has been a real inconvenience for the folks on the east side of the railroad to have only one access (Oradell Ave) to the rest of our town. Can't wait for this project to be completed. Emergency services were always a concern and when there was an accident or fire on Oradell Ave, what an inconvenience!
David Bednarcik July 03, 2012 at 01:09 PM
Hope no trucks or busses drive on the bridge. I dont want to see any school children get hurt.
Eamon Harbord (Editor) July 03, 2012 at 01:14 PM
The NJ Transit buses won't be allowed on the bridge David. While the Elm Street Bridge will be rebuilt to allow up to 40 tons of weight, Oradell passed a resolution limiting the vehicle weight limit to about 3 tons, for an average car or SUV. NJ Transit also signed off on an agreement to keep their buses off the bridge.

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