Repairs on Route 22 overpass snarls traffic

Photo by Brian Trusdell
Road crews work to shore up the loose and falling concrete during emergency repairs to the U.S. Route 22 overpass in Union.

UNION, NJ — Crews are working on emergency repairs to the underside of a U.S. Route 22 bridge over Chestnut Street, a state Department of Transportation spokeswoman said.

The work began June 8 and is expected to last about two weeks if the weather is accommodating, said DOT spokeswoman Judith Drucker. The repairs are not related to the impending Route 22 Chestnut Street bridge replacement project, Drucker confirmed.

Crews were initially working around the clock to fix the concrete spalling under the bridge, she said.
“The northbound Chestnut Street turning lane was closed and detoured last Friday, June 8, as a precaution to prevent debris from possibly falling onto the roadway and is now reopened,” Drucker wrote in a June 13 email. “The left southbound lane on Chestnut Street was also closed for the same reason.”

Motorists driving northbound, turning left from Chestnut Street onto West Chestnut Street were directed to go north on Stuyvesant Avenue. There, they are detoured to go left onto Elmwood Avenue, she said.

As of June 13, the bridge was “stabilized” and work will only be done during the daytime, Drucker said.
Traffic routinely has backed up during the morning and evening rush hour and even off-peak times such as midday.

Photo by Brian Trusdell
Access to West Chestnut Street in Union and traffic in both directions along Chestnut Street and Stuyvesant Avenue has been snarled recently due to emergency repairs of the U.S. Route 22 overpass.

The project is completely separate from the massive bridge replacement to the same highway, which is slated to start in 2019.

That project — deemed a “major headache” for the area by Deputy Mayor Joseph Florio — will create a temporary bridge to detour traffic while the Route 22 overpass is completely replaced, LocalSource previously reported.
The $27 million project will have two phases, shifting eastbound and westbound traffic during construction, a DOT spokesman previously said.

A school board traffic study was conducted to learn of the impacts the project would have on faculty parking for Connecticut Farms School teachers.

The Route 22 overpass was labelled as “structurally deficient and functionally obsolete,” a designation that doesn’t mean the bridge is “unsafe.”

Functionally obsolete bridges no longer meet current federal requirements, including having too narrow lanes or shoulders.

Federal funds will finance the project since U.S. Route 22 is a federal highway.