By Lea Kahn
A proposed two-week closure of a portion of Route 206 in the area of the Crusers Brook Bridge, as had been proposed by the contractor working on the bridge replacement project, has been scrapped.
Montgomery Township Administrator Donato Nieman confirmed that Route 206 will remain open at all times and will not be closed. The road closure was opposed by Montgomery Township and Somerset County officials.
The bridge replacement project involves replacing the bridge over Crusers Brook, a stone’s throw from the Montgomery Township Municipal Building.
Work has been under way since September of 2017.
The bridge was built in 1925, and its overall condition is poor, according to an “open house” held by the state Department of Transportation to explain the project in 2016.
The project spans 1,750 feet along Route 206, and includes replacing the existing concrete bridge with a new concrete bridge. It will incorporate a 6-foot-wide sidewalk on the southbound side.
Route 206 already has two 12-foot-wide lanes, which not be changed. The shoulders, which vary in width, will be widened to eight feet.
At the NJDOT open house in 2016, it was suggested that the work on Route 206 did not require any closures. Plans called for the work to be done in stages, with unimpeded access to all homes and businesses along Route 206.
As a main thoroughfare that cuts through a number of municipalities – including Princeton, Montgomery and Hillsborough – Route 206 regularly sees a large volume of traffic.
The proposed detours, which have since been scrapped, would have taken motorists onto adjacent roads in Montgomery Township, including County Route 601 (The Great Road/Belle Mead-Blawenburg Road), County Route 630 (Belle Mead-Griggstown Road), County Route 518 (Georgetown-Franklin Turnpike) and County Route 533 (Millstone River Road).
Somerset County Freeholder Mark Caliguire, who lives in Montgomery Township, contended the proposed road closure would not only have increased traffic on the township’s roads, but could also have caused significant issues for the area’s first responders.
The Montgomery Township Police Department, the Montgomery Township Emergency Medical Services and Montgomery Township Fire Volunteer Fire Co. No. 1 are all located either within or directly adjacent to the construction zone. All three also respond to emergencies in nearby townships, including Hillsborough Township.