Following months of delay due to weather and a nesting heron, the $1 million expansion and renovation Elm Street Bridge project is now expected to be completed by March 2013.
Work on the 1892 pony-truss style bridge was initially expected to begin in April 2012 but was pushed back two months to allow the heron's clutch to hatch. The County-owned bridge, which splits Elm Street between Oradell and New Milford, is expected to be widened by two-feet and increasing the weigh limit from three-tons to 40-tons so it meets federal standards.
"The latest timeline from the County is to have the bridge be completed by the end of March," Oradell Borough Engineer Marisa Tiberi said. "The steel is supposed to be delivered this week and weather permitting the project should be done by March."
The Transportation for America, a Washington, D.C.-based public transportation advocacy organization, named the Elm Street Bridge as structurally deficient in October 2011. The 76-feet long and 20-feet wide bridge had suffered significant damage and deterioration to the stringer beams underneath the metal bridge decking due to constant flooding in the area.
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.
Also included in the County's plan for reopening the Bridge to vehicular traffic in the future is the placement of additional stop signs at the corners of Elm Street and Bergen Boulevard along with Elm Street and Center Street. The signage is meant to encourage motorists to slow down while traveling either north or south along Elm Street.