Berkshire Valley Road, from Hercules Road to North Dell Avenue in Kenvil, will remain closed to most traffic for about a month while repairs are made to the Chester Branch Railroad trestle, which was significantly damaged when a large truck became wedged under the railroad overpass earlier today.
Update: 07/15/2021 -
Berkshire Valley Road is reopening today, although a new traffic pattern will be in place following a truck accident on Tuesday that significantly damaged a railroad overpass and forced closure of the road from Hercules Road to North Dell Avenue in Kenvil.
Engineers initially estimated the road would need to be closed for up to a month while repair work is conducted on the 120-year-old Chester Branch Railroad trestle. However, since removing a large truck that slammed into the trestle on Tuesday, engineers and contractors have been able to remove the debris and erect enough temporary bracing to allow for one lane of traffic to move under the bridge.
Emergency Repairs Being Made to Railroad Overpass Damaged by Truck Accident
The height of the truck surpassed the 11-feet-5-inch clearance level when it attempted to pass under the trestle just before 7 a.m. The trestle was significantly damaged, including steel beams that must now be replaced, forcing travel under the bridge that crosses over Berkshire Valley Road to be closed to all but emergency vehicles.
Morris County maintains the railroad trestle as part of the Chester Branch Railroad system, which The Dover Rockaway River Railroad uses for freight deliveries. The trail line extends westward into Mount Olive Township, but the freight deliveries must now be handled by truck temporarily.
Morris County has hired a design consultant and contractor to expedite the repairs to the bridge, but the work may take up to four weeks.
The trestle is located in the Kenvil section of Roxbury Township near the intersection of North Dell Avenue and Berkshire Valley Road, and it has been the focus of a North Jersey Transportation Planning Authority study since February that is designed to ultimately elevate the trestle. While the project is still years from being finalized, the goal is to improve and maintain the freight rail service and to improve the traffic pattern along Berkshire Valley Road and North Dell Avenue to better facilitate truck traffic.
The Chester Branch is one of three rail lines owned by Morris County that serves a wide range of industrial operations. The rail bridge damaged by today’s accident is located near the former Hercules Powder Plant, a 900-acre site that is one of the largest vacant industrial properties in the region. There also are industrial properties on the east side of Berkshire Valley Road and along the east side of the Chester Branch that hold significant potential for new rail-served industrial development.
Improving the constraints on truck traffic of Berkshire Valley Road has the potential to facilitate industrial and economic growth, allow commercial trucks to avoid driving through residential areas and improve the quality of life in Roxbury Township, according to the NJTPA study.
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