1 vote

River Road - NJT Raritan Valley Line Bridge


River Road Bridge

Panoramio user Adam Elmquist

View this photo at panoramio.com

BH Photo #290762


Street View 


Timber stringer bridge on 1886 cast iron bents over Raritan Valley Line on River Road
Somerset County, New Jersey
Replaced by a new bridge in 2020
Built 1886; rehabilitated 1949; closed in June 2019 and replaced
- Central Railroad of New Jersey (CNJ)
- Conrail (CR)
- New Jersey Transit (NJTR)
1949 Timber stringer bridge resting on rare 1886 cast iron bents.
Length of largest span: 46.9 ft.
Total length: 81.0 ft.
Deck width: 13.8 ft.
Eligible for the National Register of Historic Places
Approximate latitude, longitude
+40.59028, -74.68222   (decimal degrees)
40°35'25" N, 74°40'56" W   (degrees°minutes'seconds")
Approximate UTM coordinates
18/526890/4493324 (zone/easting/northing)
Quadrangle map:
Average daily traffic (as of 2017)
Inventory numbers
NJ 1861159 (New Jersey bridge number)
BH 51519 (Bridgehunter.com ID)
Inspection report (as of February 2017)
Overall condition: Poor
Superstructure condition rating: Serious (3 out of 9)
Substructure condition rating: Poor (4 out of 9)
Deck condition rating: Fair (5 out of 9)
Sufficiency rating: 11.7 (out of 100)
View more at BridgeReports.com

Update Log 

  • September 6, 2019: New photos from Geoff Hubbs
  • August 5, 2014: Updated by Dave King: Added new photos & street view
  • September 26, 2012: Updated by Luke Harden: Added category "New Jersey Transit"
  • February 29, 2012: Added by Nathan Holth



River Road - NJT Raritan Valley Line Bridge
Posted September 15, 2020, by John Marvig (marvigj27 [at] gmail [dot] com)

Looks like there may be a good amount of material for the Central Railroad of New Jersey at the National Archives in College Park, Maryland. Numerous files exist for structures and bridges..

In addition, this archive has some maps that could be of use:


River Road - NJT Raritan Valley Line Bridge
Posted September 15, 2020, by Nathan Holth (webmaster [at] historicbridges [dot] org)

Its a longshot for something from the 1880s, but is there any chance of some archives for this railroad line somewhere that would document structures and could contain hints? Maybe some of this website's railfans might know?

River Road - NJT Raritan Valley Line Bridge
Posted September 15, 2020, by Art S. (asuckewer [at] knite [dot] com)

Thanks Geoff,

That's very unfortunate. Especially if the bents were destroyed.


It will be tough. Whichever bridge they came from was LOST in 1886 or before. So, we'll need to find an image (probably of a RR bridge) taken before 1886 and hope that this needle in a haystack that may not exist has captured enough of the substructure to find a match.

Regards to both,

Art S.

River Road - NJT Raritan Valley Line Bridge
Posted September 14, 2020, by Nathan Holth (webmaster [at] historicbridges [dot] org)

As I mention in my discussion 1886 is extremely late for cast iron. It would not be in the least bit surprising if the bents were salvaged and reused in 1886. However the Historic Bridge Inventory did not have any information to confirm this. If someone can find information proving the bents are older that would be cool. https://historicbridges.org/bridges/browser/?bridgebrowser=n...

River Road - NJT Raritan Valley Line Bridge
Posted September 14, 2020, by Geoff Hubbs (geoffrey [dot] hubbs [at] att [dot] net)

Bridge closed in June 2019; bridge replaced with concete beam type on summer 2020

River Road - NJT Raritan Valley Line Bridge
Posted September 14, 2020, by Art S. (Asuckewer [at] knite [dot] com)

I don't know if this one is still standing but, if it is, its much more significant than its 1886 date suggests. While the cast iron bents are original to the 1886 bridge. They were 'used' when installed. They are repurposed railroad bents from a bridge that had been replaced by 1886. Their reuse was a cost effective solution to creating a grade separation for the road.

To me, the indicators are the extra 'doo-dads' (yes that is a technical term... :^) ) in the casting that are not artistic nor functional in this application. Also, the 10 cast into one and the 12 in the other suggest both that they were part of a production run and that the doo-dads would not have been in the casting if unnecessary in their original application (if they can change the number, they can eliminate the doo-dads).

My thought is 1860s, possibly earlier.

Does anyone have comments or opinions to confirm or contradict this?


Art S.