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Sunday, August 29, 2010

Sandford Avenue bridge reconstruction

This sign was my first clue the bridge was being reconstructed.

Plainfield's location as a transportation crossroads helped make it a regional market town in the days before the insult of highway strip malls and regional shopping centers.

And that was facilitated by the large number of crossings (20) of the Green Brook, which separates Plainfield and North Plainfield, Union and Somerset Counties.

Coming home the 'back way' from Watchung Square Mall recently, I came upon the roadblock pictured above, the first I was aware that the Sandford Avenue bridge was being reconstructed. (Later I noticed a sign on East Front Street -- at the foot of Westerveld Avenue -- announcing a detour via Richmond Street.)

Though signs do not indicate a completion date, if previous experience is a guide it will probably be late spring of 2011.

Since the bridges benefit both counties, I have been told the arrangement for maintenance and reconstruction is that all bridges from Somerset Street east are Union County's responsibility and those from Madison Avenue west are Somerset County's. That would mean Union County is doing the work.

Unresolved is the fate of the Geraud Avenue bridge, which has been closed for many years after structural damage from flooding. The two councils and county officials have had several meetings but no final decision has been reached about what to do, leaving the street essentially a dead end (if crude and unsightly) in each community.

Equipment used to strip away old  road surface.
If you're curious, the TWENTY bridge crossings of the Green Brook are, from west to east: Jefferson Avenue, Rock Avenue, Clinton Avenue, West End Avenue, Geraud Avenue (closed), Sycamore Avenue, Washington Avenue, Grove Street, Madison Avenue, Somerset Street, Watchung Avenue, Roosevelt Avenue, Westerveld Avenue, Sandford Avenue, Norwood Avenue, Farragut Road, Netherwood Avenue, Leland Avenue, Raymond Avenue and Terrill Road.

There are also FIFTEEN railroad bridges on the Raritan Valley Line of NJT, which passes through Plainfield: Rock Avenue, Clinton Avenue, Grant Avenue, Plainfield Avenue, Liberty Street, New Street, Central Avenue, Madison Avenue, Park Avenue, Watchung Avenue, Roosevelt Avenue, Richmond Street, Berckman Street, Leland Avenue and Terrill Road.

These have all been reconstructed and repainted, as a result of public pressure on New Jersey Transit by longtime Plainfield activist (and current Board of Ed member) Rasheed Abdul-Haqq.

(It would be nice if NJT got around to taking down the many detour signs still left at various points around town.)

    -- Dan Damon [follow]

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    Anonymous said...

    There are specific NJ Highway Department SIGN requirements to warn trucks of RR bridges ahead that Plainfield has NOT adhered to. An oversize truck must be given warning prior to its approach of the bridge so it may turn to the left or right to an underpass that it can fit !! Many police hours and lawsuits would be prevented by properly posting these signs. The courier has a ton of stuck trucks under bridges for a study.

    Anonymous said...

    Hi Dan,

    You stated Richmond RR bridge is one of the ugliest one I've seen. It looks rusted and just not attractive at all.

    I travel every day to Woodbridge and I can tell you. Their RR bridges are exemplary of what I think the bridges in Plainfield should be.

    Dan said...

    @ 11:49 AM -- I'll have to look. With the completion of all the bridges east of Watchung, I though they were all done.