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The New Jersey Department of Transportation (NJDOT) hosted an informal information center, on Monday, August 1, 2016 at the Pennington Borough Municipal Building, regarding the upcoming construction of the Pennington/Hopewell Township Route 31. NJDOT will be demolishing and replacing the bridge over the CSX railroad, replacing the culvert over Seminary Creek, and making pavement improvements in the vicinity (see maps below).

Overhead view of work area
Overhead view of work area

Preliminary work on the project began in July with the installation of signage, utility work and clearing of vegetation. More significant work will begin this fall. NJDOT will provide information before this work starts. The project is expected to be completed in the fall of 2018.

As previously reported on MercerMe, the following are details provided by NJDOT with regard to the scope of the project:

PIC - Parapet and Tile detail
Parapet and Tile detail comparing existing tile work and proposed tile replacement design

NJDOT proposes to demolish the existing bridge on Route 31 over CSX (railway lines): The existing bridge will be demolished and replaced with a single span 103’-2” steel girder superstructure on concrete abutments and spread footings. The existing alignment and a 23′ vertical under-clearance will be maintained, and the proposed cross section across the bridge will consist of one 12′-0″ through lane, one 10′-0″ right shoulder, and a 5′-0″ sidewalk in both directions. The proposed parapets will reflect most of the original historical characteristics.

NJDOT proposes to make paving improvements: The existing pavement box and raised median will be removed from MP 6.84 to 7.33 and replaced with a 30″ deep pavement box. Two water quality structures will be provided for the two watersheds north and south of the bridge to meet NJDEP requirements. The storm drainage systems were designed to convey peak flow during a 25-year storm event and to control the spread of storm water across the pavement during a 10-year storm event.

NJDOT proposes to install a new culvert over Seminary Creek: The new culvert will be an in-kind-replacement with a 3-sided precast concrete culvert providing the same overall length and the same hydraulic opening as the existing culvert. The roadway will provide one 12’ wide travel lane and one 10’ wide shoulder in each direction. An existing collapsed concrete headwall will be replaced in-kind and an existing 15” storm drain outfall will be replaced by an 18” outfall with new headwall and riprap scour hole.

A primary two (2) stage construction sequence is proposed. All existing lanes of traffic (one in each direction) are to be maintained during construction. Construction is expected to be completed over two (2) construction seasons. Utility relocations involving overhead aerial utilities and poles will need to be performed at the onset of construction.

NJDOT has indicated that the one lane of traffic, in each direction on Route 31, will be maintained during construction, although lane shifts will be necessary. Trucks wider than 10-feet are restricted from crossing this the bridge during construction. These vehicles are required to receive a permit from NJDOT to operate on state highways and will be notified of the restriction when they apply for such a permit, according to NJDOT.

The precise timing of the work is subject to change due to weather or other factors. Motorists are encouraged to check NJDOT’s traffic information website www.511nj.org for real-time travel information and for NJDOT news follow us on Twitter @NJDOT_info.

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