May 10, 2017

Route 518 Bridge Reopens in Rocky Hill Ending Nearly a Year of Frustration

The Route 518 bridge over the D&R Canal finally reopened last Thursday night, easing traffic woes for commuters and safety concerns for residents of Rocky Hill. The project that was supposed to take four weeks extended to 10 months, frustrating motorists with backups and delays.

Work to replace the bridge began last July. The span was closed less than a week later, when Gov. Chris Christie ordered work suspended on all “non-essential” road projects because the transportation trust fund of the New Jersey Department of Transportation had run out of money.

Efforts resumed once Gov. Christie signed a bill increasing the gas tax by 23 cents a gallon, and the re-funding issue was resolved. But after creosote was discovered near the project last February, the project was once again brought to a temporary halt.

Route 518 is one of the busiest roads in southern Somerset County. The closure had a negative effect on local businesses and the detour created safety issues for residents. Traffic was rerouted down Crescent Avenue to get to River Road, and trucks rumbling down the road were a concern to those who live in the normally placid neighborhood.

Residents protested frequently at the bridge during the closure. Complaints were lodged with the New Jersey Department of Transportation by motorists, residents, and emergency workers who use the bridge to ferry people in distress to University Medical Center of Princeton at Plainsboro and Robert Wood Johnson Medical Center in New Brunswick.