West Caldwell, NJ – Essex County Executive Joseph N. DiVincenzo, Jr. announced that a project to replace the Orton Road Bridge in West Caldwell is scheduled to start on Monday, March 4th. The 19th century bridge needs to be replaced because it is structurally obsolete and was damaged during a rainstorm in the summer of 2018. Construction is scheduled to take about six months to complete and traffic will be detoured around the area.

“An ongoing priority of my administration has been to modernize our infrastructure and make sure our bridges and roads are safe and able to meet the growing needs of our residents. At 138 years old, the Orton Road Bridge already needed to be replaced when heavy flood waters in Pine Brook damaged the structure,” DiVincenzo said. “In addition to providing critical access through West Caldwell, the bridge is a historic structure and a symbolic landmark in the community. We are pleased to have worked with the local historical society and state preservation office to develop a creative solution to preserve the historical integrity of the bridge while it is being modernized,” he added.

“This bridge means a great deal to the residents of West Caldwell and we want to make sure our infrastructure is safe and meets the needs of the community,” Freeholder Len Luciano said.

“This is another great project that the County is doing. Infrastructure projects are so important, and we can’t thank Joe DiVincenzo and his staff enough,” West Caldwell Mayor Joe Tempesta said. “This is a great project and we thank the County for the attention they are giving to West Caldwell,” West Caldwell Council President Joseph Cecere said.

“This is a really important project to the historical community. The bridge was part of the road taken by early pioneers who settled here. The County was terrific during the planning process and we appreciate them listening to our ideas,” said Beverly Crifasi of the Historical Society of West Caldwell. “I am grateful and impressed with the attention that the County has given to this project and their recognition of is historical significance,” said Frank Godlewski, also of the Historical Society of West Caldwell.

During construction, Orton Road from Midvale Avenue to Cascade Road will be closed to vehicular traffic. A temporary pedestrian bridge will be constructed to allow foot traffic through the area. Motor vehicles will be detoured around the area via Westville Avenue and Passaic Avenue.

“There is no good time to close the Orton Road bridge because it’s an important route through West Caldwell and to Wilson Elementary School. We will work with the contractor to expedite the construction as quickly as possible to minimize any disruption to the community,” the Executive said. “We understand there will be a significant inconvenience to residents and ask them for their patience and understanding,” he added.

The current stone and masonry structure was constructed around 1880 and is about 42 feet long over Pine Brook. The roadway is built on a series of piers that are about 12 feet apart and carries two lanes of traffic, one lane in each direction. A five-foot wide wooden pedestrian walkway along the east side of the road was added to the outside of the bridge in 1959. Based on current design standards, the bridge is “functionally obsolete.” In addition, the bridge sustained damage from flood waters along the Pine Brook caused by a summer storm. Essex County Public Works crews stabilized the bridge structure allowing it to reopen while the new bridge was designed.

The new bridge will be a three-span, precast concrete arch structure with stone facing. Like the existing structure, there will be two travel lanes, one in each direction. A sidewalk will be provided inside the bridge parapet on the east side of the bridge.

Due to the year and manner of construction, the existing 1880s bridge is eligible for inclusion on the National and New Jersey Register of Historic Places. To preserve the historical character of the structure, the County consulted extensively with the New Jersey Historic Preservation Office and the Historical Society of West Caldwell. To achieve this, the design of the new bridge will mimic the existing bridge’s three-span, semi-circular arch configuration. In addition, the brownstones from the original bridge will be salvaged during the demolition and will be reused in the construction of the fascia of the new bridge.

Boswell Engineering from South Hackensack was awarded a professional services contract for $249,982 to design the new bridge. Reivax Contracting Corp. from Newark was awarded a publicly bid contract for $2,160,355 to perform the construction work. The Essex County Department of Public Works will monitor the project to ensure delays are avoided. Funding is being provided through grants from the New Jersey Department of Transportation’s Local Bridges Future Needs Program and Annual Transportation Program (ATP 2018).

Other capital projects that Essex County has completed in West Caldwell include the repaving of Westville Avenue in 2018, Clinton Road in 2016 and Kirkpatrick Lane in 2013, planting of trees along County roads in 2011, installation of a traffic signal at the intersection of Passaic Avenue and Terrace Place/Dillon Road in 2006, modernization of four intersections and streetscape improvements along Bloomfield Avenue in 2005 and replacement of the Kirkpatrick Lane Culvert in 2003.