Stalled (Again) Route 518 Bridge Replacement Project Could Re-Start This Week

The on-again, off-again replacement project for the Route 518 bridge at Canal Road is expected to be on again this week.

Work on the Route 518 bridge is expected to resume this week, nearly two weeks after contractors found traces of a possible carcinogen in the ground around the construction area.

Workers found creosote, a wood preservation chemical, in the ground and water near the bridge earlier this month. Work was immediately stopped so that an environmental plan could be created by the state Department of Transportation.

“Work is expected to resume this week, weather permitting,” DOT spokesman Stephen Schapiro said in an email.

Schapiro said in an earlier email that “the NJ Water Supply Authority, the D&R Canal State Park, and local officials have been notified of the situation.”

“NJDOT understands that this project is locally sensitive and we are working as quickly as possible to resolve the issue and complete the reconstruction of the bridge, but these types of unexpected environmental issues demand immediate attention to ensure the safety of the workers and the residents,” he said in the earlier email.

Schapiro said he did not yet know how this delay may affect the $2.75 million project’s cost.

Read more about the 518 bridge work here, here, here, here and here.

This was the second time work on the project had to be stopped since it began last July. The project was supposed to have been completed by the end of the summer of 2016. But work was stopped on July 8, several days after demolition began, as a result of the June 30, 2016 Executive Order signed by Gov. Chris Christie. That order halted all Transportation Trust Fund-funded road projects not deemed essential.

Nothing was done on the project until the end of November, after a gasoline tax increase was signed into law by Christie.

In January, DOT officials said the project was expected to be finished by the end of February.

This is an evolving story, check back for updates.

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