Monday, April 14, 2014

Essex County Describes 'S-Curves' Improvements

According to a press release from Essex County Public Information Officer Anthony Puglisi, the $30 Million renovation of the South Orange Avenue 'S-Curves" is the "largest road improvement project undertaken by Essex County in the last generation". The release said that the project will "flatten the curves in the road, enhance motor vehicle safety and storm drainage, and make the road meet modern traffic design standards". Although the construction is expected to last for the next two years, lane closures are not anticipated, according to the county. 

"The public relies on our network of County roads to travel to work, school and conduct their daily lives, and South Orange Avenue is a major east-west thoroughfare. While stretch of road through Essex County South Mountain Reservation offers some picturesque views, the sharp turns and lack of shoulders on the side of the road create hazardous driving conditions and are prone to flooding", Essex County Executive Joseph DiVincenzo, Jr. said in the release, mentioning that federal money will be used as part of the project. DiVincenzo added that the "Federal Highway Administration identified this section of South Orange Avenue as being dangerous over a decade ago".

French and Parrello Associates received a $1.6 million contract to design the roadway improvements, the release said. New Prince Concrete Construction from Hackensack was awarded a publicly bid contract for $25,915,389.50 to perform the construction. The Essex County Public Works Department is monitoring the project to ensure delays are avoided. 

The release said that the improvements which will be made include the following:

·   The roadway will be re-aligned to reduce the sharpness of the curves.
·   The roadway will be widened so that a shoulder can be created in the eastbound direction.
·   Traffic signal equipment at the intersections of Brookside Drive/Cherry Lane in Millburn and Glenview Road in South Orange will be modernized.
·   Retention swales along the side of the road will be constructed to address flooding and reduce water runoff from the road into the reservation.
·   Guide rails and lighting will be installed to enhance safety. The new lights will include traditional overhead cobra-head street lights and decorative gas-lamp style lamps.
·   A new pedestrian bridge over the roadway near the Girl Scout Camp and an existing pedestrian and equine bridge will be reconstructed. The two bridges will be designed with stone facing to complement the natural area of the reservation.
·   Turnoff and parking areas will be upgraded to improve sight lines and make it easier to exit and enter the roadway. This will enhance access to walking trails that start or pass by these parking areas.
·   More than 3,600 trees and additional landscaping will be planted to replace the 430 trees that were cut down. In addition, areas in the reservation that were affected by Hurricane Sandy will be replanted.