Eight Months Of Route 17 Detours Expected Thanks To Overpass Roadwork
The NJDOT will close one lane of a busy township overpass, and Mahwah officials say they want to close the wrong one; officials say traffic is a major concern
NJDOT roadwork planned at the Macarthur Boulevard overpass over Route 17 will likely shut part of it down for six to eight months starting next spring, Township Engineer Mike Kelly told Mahwah’s town council Thursday night.
The DOT is planning to replace the bridge deck of the overpass, a project that Kelly said will take at least six to eight months, and will require one lane of the overpass to be completely shut down for the duration of construction.
The state is proposing to shut down the eastbound side of the road, which allows cars to travel from Island Road to Macarthur Boulevard. However, traffic concerns prompted officials to ask the DOT to close the road in the other direction, Kelly said.
“Traffic would be a nightmare,” if the overpass is shut in the proposed direction, Kelly told the council, because detoured traffic trying to get to Macarthur Blvd. from Route 17 would be sent to W. Airmount Ave. to u-turn onto 17 South. That traffic would likely back up township roadways as buses and parents are trying to get to Ridge Road for morning school drop-offs.
Instead, the township is proposing the DOT shut the overpass in the opposite direction, traveling from Macarthur Blvd. to Island Road. The detour for cars traveling southbound on Route 17 would be to u-turn at Spring Street in Ramsey.
“We made it clear to the DOT that we want the westbound lane of traffic open,” Kelly said. Talks between the township and the state DOT to plan this project are ongoing, he said.
A Transportation for America report released last October classified the overpass as “structurally deficient,” and in need of repair. The report also said the Macarthur Blvd. overpass has the third highest traffic volume of all structurally deficient bridges in the state. The report estimated the bridge, built in 1956, has an annual average daily traffic rate of 157,300 cars.
The work is expected to begin in the spring of 2013.