Emergency Bridge Closure Snarls Traffic
By Anne Levin
The discovery Monday of deteriorated structural conditions on the Alexander Street Bridge over Stony Brook necessitated closing of the heavily traveled thoroughfare to allow for emergency repairs. The project is expected to take at least 10 days, depending on weather conditions.
Motorists trying to drive in and out of Princeton during the Tuesday morning rush hour were delayed at several locations because of the rerouted traffic.
Mercer County sent out a notice Monday afternoon saying all traffic on the bridge is suspended. A detour directs motorists to use Route 1, Washington Road, and Faculty Road.
This is not good news for the commuters already inconvenienced by the closure of the Dinky train shuttle, which has been replaced since last fall by buses. Those buses use Alexander to ferry passengers between the Princeton and Princeton Junction train stations.
Service on the Dinky is scheduled to be restored on May 24, but Mayor Liz Lempert said at Monday’s Princeton Council meeting that she and Assemblyman Dan Benson, who heads the State Assembly’s Transportation Committee, were working to get NJ Transit to move up the date.
“It was the first call I made,” Lempert said, adding that at first, she was led to believe that the bridge closure would be indefinite. “So it was better news that it will only take 10 days — hopefully,” she said.
Alexander Street, which becomes Alexander Road in West Windsor, was already targeted for closure during the summer months for replacement of the bridge over the D&R Canal and the bridge over the Stony Brook. The New Jersey Department of Transportation held a special public information session at Monument Hall last December to provide information about the project.
The D&R Canal bridge is owned by the State of New Jersey, while the Alexander span is under the aegis of Mercer County.
Alexander Road remains open to Turning Basin Park from the east, and up to
West Drive from the west. The bridge is still open to pedestrian traffic. Once repairs are complete, vehicular traffic will be allowed, but weight will be restricted to 20 tons, as it is now.