A not often seen migratory bird, a Blue Heron has recently decided to make its nest not far from the Elm Street Bridge. Due to the possibility of negatively affecting the clutch, Bergen County has delayed the construction work on the bridge from April 9 to June 30.
Found throughout most of North America, the Blue Heron prefers to stay close to water such as fresh and saltwater marshes, mangrove swamps, flooded meadows, lake edges, or shorelines, while nesting in nearby trees or bushes.
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.
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.
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.
Until construction begins and is eventually completed, no pedestrian foot traffic is allowed over the bridge.