You probably pass underneath it regularly. But, one Mahwah resident took a bit longer looking at one of the township's interesting pieces of infrastructe, and decided it needed a closer look.
Dave Falato recently wrote to Patch asking his Nagging Mahwah Question:
"I'm currently a resident of Mahwah, but I grew up in Ramsey. The other day I asked my wife (who is from Mahwah) if she knew why the one-lane bridge on W. Airmount had black and white paint on the one side, and red and white on the other. She had no idea, nor did she notice they were painted different. Do you know why?"
Patch set out to find the answer. Though township officials said they weren't sure about the history of the paint job on the one-way underpass, several trustees at the Mahwah Museum landed on an answer.
"From what I have been told, one side is painted red and the other black as an attempt to control traffic through the overpass," Museum trustee Tom O'Brien said. "The vehicles on the red side are supposed to stop and wait for cars to pass from the black side. The black side has the right of way."
Trustee Bob Adler added, "the reason that the Franklin Turnpike side was chosen to be Black and White is because of the downward slope of the road. Vehicles traveling downhill have the right of way in case of brake failure."
The history of the underpass, the two said, is unique.
"This underpass is the only one along the line that was not widened for traffic," O'Brien said. "It posible that this street "Culvert Ave." (before the West Airmount name was given to it) was considered a minor thoroughfare and wasn't going to carry much traffic." Though, O'Brien said he is not positive of the reasoning it remained a one-way.
Do you have a Nagging Mahwah Question? Something you see all the time in town, and have always wondered about? Submit them to firstname.lastname@example.org, and we will do our best to find the answer!