Schooley’s Mountain Road Bridge Reopens on August 1
Published on July 31, 2023
Morris County Rehab Project Completed Three Weeks Ahead of Schedule
Morris County officials gathered this morning on the Schooley’s Mountain Road bridge in Washington Township for a ribbon cutting ceremony to celebrate construction wrapping up three weeks ahead of schedule, as the historic bridge is set to reopen tomorrow evening.
“The roads and bridges Morris County is responsible for are among the best maintained -- possibly the best maintained -- in the state as we follow a plan developed 10 years ago that also included doubling the miles of county roads paved,” stated Morris County Commissioner Director John Krickus, who was joined by Commissioner Doug Cabana and Washington Township Mayor Matt Murello on the bridge.
A vital link for the Long Valley community, the 150-year-old bridge allows travelers to safely cross on a newly paved riding surface supported by structurally reinforced walls and arches. Morris County funded the $1,008,000 project in the German Valley Historic District that will extend the life of the bridge another 30 to 40 years.
The downstream (western) stone spandrel wall had deteriorated to the point of needing full reconstruction. The scope of work entailed rebuilding the wall by removing all material above the arches and reinstalling the existing stonework with a lightweight concrete. A new waterproof membrane also was placed on top of the arches.
The project began on Friday, June 16, 2023, and was scheduled to occur over two phases. During Phase 1 of the work, the bridge remained open to one-way traffic and was completed ahead of the 51 days initially scheduled. When Phase 2 work began on Monday, July 10, a full bridge closure was required to allow the contractor to remove and replace all material above the stone arches. The work was anticipated to take 21 days to complete, weather permitting, with the goal of finishing the entire project by the time school reopened on August 23, 2023. But the project was completed weeks ahead of schedule.
“This was a substantial project on a historic structure. Everyone involved should feel proud of what was accomplished. There are so many factors that can delay construction, particularly all the heavy rains in July. Under normal circumstances, completing this project on time would have been a notable. In this case, finishing the job three weeks ahead of schedule is tremendous. The county’s employees, Washington Township and the contractor deserve a lot of credit,” said Commissioner Stephen Shaw, liaison to the Morris County Public Works Department.
“The county has completed five bridge projects since last year,” Shaw added.
With Schooley’s Mountain Bridge completed, Morris County Public Works Director Chris Vitz expects another project will start soon in the Town of Dover that calls for demolition and replacement of the Richard Avenue Bridge over McKeel Brook. Currently, the county is also reconstructing the historic bridge over Mill Brook in Randolph.
Construction was scheduled between the hours of 7 a.m. - 5 p.m. Monday through Friday and most Saturdays from 7 a.m. - 3:30 p.m. to complete this project as quickly as possible. Overnight construction also took place during the week of June 19. CMS Construction Corporation of Plainfield, New Jersey, was the contractor on the project.
“We couldn't ask for a better partnership in having this bridge done. I can't wait to get people back over the road and get these detours out of town. And then we can start working on repaving some of those roads… I want to thank the county and all the partners to getting this done,” stated Washington Township Mayor Matt Murello.
The new and improved bridge on Schooley’s Mountain Road will continue to serve the community and be of use well into the future. No rehabilitation was necessary on the upstream wall of the bridge as it is still in excellent shape after a walkway and concrete reinforcement were added on that side in 1994.
Photo 1: A view of the rebuilt western spandrel wall of Schooley’s Mountain Road bridge.
Photo 2: (l-r) Washington Township Committeeman Roehrich, Morris County Commissioner Cabana, Washington Township Vice Mayor Marino, Director Krickus, Washington Township Mayor Murello, Stan Schrek, PE, Principal at Van Cleef Engineering and Associates, Brian Caruso, PE, Supervising Engineer, County of Morris Engineering & Transportation, Chris Vitz, Morris County Director of Public Works and County Engineer, and Eugene Kearney, Construction Inspector at Van Cleef Engineering and Associates.
Photo 3: A CMS Construction worker uses a grinder to sand the pedestrian walkway guard railing before paint is applied.
Photo 4: Director Krickus reviews some site documents with Eugene Kearney, Construction Inspector at Van Cleef Engineering and Associates.