The rehabilitated historical truss superstructure from the old Bear Tavern Road Bridge — also known as the Jacobs Creek Bridge – soon will have a new home atop a bridge carrying Valley Road over Moore’s Creek in Hopewell Township, Mercer County Executive Brian M. Hughes announced.
The iron truss, which dates to 1882, was removed and preserved when the old Jacobs Creek/Bear Tavern Road Bridge was dismantled in 2011, two years after it was closed for being deemed structurally unsound. The new Bear Tavern Road Bridge opened in 2014.
The truss is being restored as part of the Mercer County Department of Transportation and Infrastructure’s $1.4 million contract with State Line Construction Co. of Newark to rehabilitate the Valley Road Bridge over Moore’s Creek, located between Pleasant Valley Road and Woodens Lane. The bridge rehabilitation will begin on or about Monday, April 16, and is scheduled to be completed in 120 calendar days, weather permitting.
During construction, the bridge will be closed to all traffic on a 24/7 basis. A detour will be posted directing motorists to use Pleasant Valley Road, Barry Road, County Route 518 (Brunswick Pike) and Woodens Lane.
The Valley Road Bridge is located near the Howell Living History Farm, which is operated by the Mercer County Park Commission and which worked with County officials to determine the best location for the restored truss.
“From a historical perspective, the Moore’s Creek location made the most sense because a truss bridge had been there previously,” Mr. Hughes said.
Members of the truss that are deteriorated, or portions of those members, are being fabricated by Susan R. Bauer Inc., a bridge fabricator located in Ringwood, and incorporated into the old truss. The State Historic Preservation Office approved the truss restoration project, as well as the relocation of the truss to the Valley Road Bridge.
The existing Valley Road Bridge structure is a single span, simply supported steel beam structure. It is supported on full height abutments built on spread footings. The reconstructed bridge will be a 64-foot span by 29-foot-4-inch-wide main structure supported on the existing abutments. It will support the rehabilitated historic Bear Tavern Road Bridge truss superstructure, which has a span length of 75 feet, 3 3/8 inches and width of 31 feet. A cantilever sidewalk will be provided along the north fascia. The proposed cross section will consist of two 11-foot travel lanes, two 2-foot-wide shoulders and 4-foot tall bridge railings. The superstructure will consist of steel beams with a composite reinforced concrete deck.
State Line Construction Co. was awarded the contract on Jan. 25, 2018, with a bid of $1,428,243.60.