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County Bridge Projects On Tap For This Summer And Next Year

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Somerset County plans to replace this bridge on Blackwells Mills Road over the summer. The project will close part of the road from July through September.

Two Somerset County projects that will close township bridges for several months this year and next are just about ready to go.

The most immediate project will require the closing of part of Blackwells Mills Road from July through mid-September, while the second project will mean the closure of part of South Middlebush Road for 10 to 12 weeks, probably sometime next year.

Both projects entail the complete replacement of bridges, parts of one of which are nearly 100 years old.

This summer’s project on Blackwells Mills Road will entail the replacement of a bridge over Steep Hill Brook built in 1932. According to Brian Maurer, the county’s principal bridge engineer, the current 28-foot-wide, two-lane bridge will be replaced by a 30-foot-wide two-lane bridge.

The current bridge’s concrete substructure is heavily eroded, Maurer said,with cracking throughout.

The new bridge will be a precast concrete frame with natural stone veneer on the parapets, he said.

The detour plan includes Van Cleef, Amwell and South Middlebush roads, Maurer said. He said that two utility poles that carry Verizon telephone lines will need to be relocated.

The project’s cost estimate is set at $755,000, Maurer said.

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This bridge on South Middlebush Road also needs to be replaced, but the county first has to hear back from the state on its grant application.

The second project, which probably will not be started until next year, is the replacement of a bridge over Six Mile Run on South Middlebush Road.

The current 24-foot-wide bridge will be replaced by a 30-foot-wide bridge, Maurer said. The bridge’s concrete and stone substructure is in poor condition, and is on the county’s “functional obsolete” list.

The timber deck panels on the current bridge will be removed and used by the county at another location, Maurer said.

Al required permits for the project have been acquired, but the county recently applied to the state Department of Transportation for a grant under the Local Bridges Future Needs grant program. A schedule for the bridge’s replacement won’t be known until the result of that application is known, Maurer said.

“As of now, construction is not scheduled for 2014,” he said.

The project’s detour plan includes Amwell Road, Veronica Avenue, Route 27 and Claremeont Road, he said.

The project’s estimated cost is $795,000, Maurer said. The county has applied for an $895,000 grant, which includes costs for construction inspection and material testing, he said.

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