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Sunday, September 3, 2017

Netherwood Avenue bridge work has begun

Liz & Frank D'Aversa, whose front yard abuts the bridge.

Frank watches as tree men gently trim trees without
hitting utility wires.

Only after a tree is stripped bare is the trunk taken down.

Work on the Netherwood Avenue bridge over the Green Brook between Plainfield and North Plainfield was scheduled to start after Labor Day, but actually got under way on Monday, August 28.

I got a call from Frank and Liz D'Aversa, Democratic committee members from Ward 1, District 4, to come over and see the tree crews at work.

The bridge, built in 1928, has large trees abutting the apron on both sides of the Green Brook which must be removed before work on the bridge can begin.

The $2.2 million project (about half funded by NJDOT and the balance by Union County) is expected to take about a year and is expected to be finished in late summer 2018.

Once the trees are removed, contractors can begin deconstructing the bridge.

As Union County engineers explained to the Plainfield Planning Board when the construction plans were reviewed, Army Corps of Engineers rules mandate that construction of a new bridge neither increase or decrease the rate of flow through what amounts to a checkpoint.

The Green Brook Flood Control Commission, which oversees the entire Green Brook drainage area (and of which Plainfield is a member) has a statutory responsibility to plan flood control measures that allow water to drain from the Watchung Hills to the Raritan River with minimal flooding to the communities along the Green Brook when flash floods strike.

The bridge is now closed for the duration.
If this is your "shortcut", make other plans.

Netherwood Avenue is already closed, and those who use it as a "shortcut" are advised to adopt new routes for the next year.

The bridge is a twin of the one on Raymond Avenue, which was completed earlier this year. The bridge at Sandford Avenue, which was more complicated because it is at a bend in the Green Brook, was finished a few years ago.

With 18 bridges over the Green Brook between Plainfield and North Plainfield, responsibility for their maintenance is divided between Somerset County (west of Watchung Avenue) and Union County (Watchung Avenue and eastward). The most recent bridge to be rebuilt by Somerset County was the Sycamore Avenue bridge, about six years ago.

In the traffic studies made in planning the project, it was discovered that 1,400 cars and trucks a day use the Netherwood bridge, which is a convenient shortcut from Route 22 to both the Netherwood Station and to East Front Street.

  -- Dan Damon [follow]
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