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BH Photo #252788
New Jersey's oldest operating bridge reborn!
Photos at: http://s.nj.com/mDWERBM
Temporary repairs complete, reopening with 20 Ton limit and a truck detour until permanent repairs complete:
Note: this is a 1792 bridge that George Washington (and probably all of our founding fathers) crossed. With temporary repairs on significant damage - 20 Ton limit and no longer a primary truck route!
Its interesting to see how differently the failures of this bridge and Iowa's Wagon Wheel Bridge are being handled.
Article with pictures:
An 18th-century-bridge on Route 206 over the Stony Brook has a “damaged” foundation area that will require crews to pump in concrete to stabilize the foundation and immediate area, municipal officials said Monday in adding the bridge will “possibly” remain closed into next week.
The discovery of the latest problem, disclosed to the town by the state Department of Transportation, was triggered after a stone parapet on the southbound lane collapsed last week. The need to repair that damage led to more inspections finding cracks and voids in the arches that hold up the bridge, with the state also concerned about the southern abutment or end of the bridge, the town said.
At her regular press conference, Mayor Liz Lempert told reporters that a diver, who is also an engineer, went into the water to look at the foundations of the bridge. “They are damaged,” she said.
In particular, there is erosion of the soil that supports the bridge, town engineer Robert V. Kiser said.
She said the state was putting in temporary dams on Monday to divert the water to give authorities a “much better look at the state of the foundations of the bridge.”
“Once they’ve done that analysis,” she said, “they will have a better sense of how long the repairs are going to take them.”
A stretch of Route 206 between Hutchinson Drive and Lovers Lane has been closed in both directions since last week, so motorists have had to take detours to avoid the closure. The town has not received a firm timetable for when the bridge would reopen.
“So what they’ve told us is that it’ll definitely be closed through the end of this week, possibly through the end of next week,” she said.
For its part, DOT spokesman Kevin Israel said Monday that repairs are “more extensive” than first thought. He was checking to confirm the accuracy of Mayor Lempert’s statements about the foundations.
The bridge was constructed in 1792, and is believed to be the oldest bridge in continuous use on a state highway in New Jersey and possibly the country, Mr. Kiser said. The DOT was not immediately able to say Monday when the last time it had been inspected.
The bridge has historical protections, so the state has to make the repairs in a historically sensitive way.
“Obviously, you want to preserve both the historic integrity of it and also the structural integrity of it,” Mayor Lempert said.
She sought to explain what might have led to this round of problems with the old structure. She said that stretch of Route 206 had been mistakenly put on the state’s truck route map.
“Some of the damage that was being caused to the bridge was because you had vehicles coming over there that had no business being on top of that bridge, because the trucks were being directed there,” she said. “Now that’s been cleared up.”
Princeton has one other bridge that old, also built in 1792, on Mercer Road over the Stony Brook. Mr. Kiser said it was reconstructed by Mercer County in the late 1970s.
To fix the foundation problem, the state would need to pump in concrete. Based on Mr. Kiser’s experience, he said that kind of repair would take anywhere from a week-and-a-half to two weeks or longer, weather permitting.
As for detours, the state has said motorists travelling south on Route 206 should go right on Georgetown Franklin Road/CR518, left on Hopewell Princeton Road and right onto Route 206 south.
Northbound drivers should go left on Carter Road, right onto Georgetown Franklin Road and left back on Route 206 north.
The bridge is closed indefinitely (April 30 estimate). Considering that thousands of cars a day crossed the bridge, this is creating a traffic mess.
Its fun to read the negative commentary:
Unlike truss bridges, which are closed for no apparent reason, 18th century stone arch bridges are kept open as the continue to collapse! They finally decided to close the bridge after additional failure and signs of arch failure:
A week long emergency project on Route 206 in Princeton led to the complete closure of the entire road on Friday.
The New Jersey Department of Transportation has worked all week on installing a concrete barrier on the north and southbound sides of the historic bridge over Stony Brook at Quaker Road near the Hun School, Bristol-Myers Squibb and Jasna Plana Country Club.
Traffic alternated one lane at a time all week but the road was completely closed between Carter Road and Elm Road on Friday. Traffic was backed up on many alternate routes including Fackler Road, Cherry Valley Road and Princeton Pike.
Lt. Jon Bucchere of the Princeton Police Department said additional damage to the wall developed on Thursday night.
“At some point the condition of the bridge worsened which required the shutdown,” Bucchere said. He expected the bridge to reopen by sometime Saturday afternoon or evening. The DOT in a statement Friday afternoon said that “cracks and voids” were discovered during an inspection by engineers in the the stone arches that support the structure.
According to the DOT, the original problem was a protective wall called a parapet that collapsed along the southbound side and needs to be replaced. Because of the historic nature of the bridge, the work must be done using similar construction methods. It’s not known how long the work will take to complete.
I know that most of you are more interested in more elaborate structures than the humble stone arch but this 1792 bridge, built during George Washington's presidency (which would mean he crossed it!) is still in very heavy use today. Unfortunately, heavy use may have taken it's toll as the bridge just had a partial (hopefully minor) collapse:
The wall visible to the left is the remains of a late 1600's mill. The mill was destroyed when the road/bridge were widened and rehabbed in the 1890's.
Another vintage photo: https://dspace.njstatelib.org/xmlui/bitstream/handle/10929/2...
Here is an old postcard of the bridge: http://pudl.princeton.edu/sheetreader.php?obj=5425k979t
My mistake, it was built in 1792. I'm pretty sure this bridge also replaced a wooden bridge burned by George Washington's troops during the revolution.
The image the comes up in street view is the Quaker Road bridge, this bridge/intersection are literally feet from the correct bridge. If street view pans to the right, you see the actual bridge.
This is the bridge: http://www.seocom.com/stan/njprnctn1.html
This bridge was built in 1797.