Route 15 bridge in Morris County temporarily closes over concerns of structural integrity

Mayor Eric Wilsusen says the decision to close the bridge was made by the Department of Transportation over concerns of its structural integrity.

Amanda Eustice

Jun 5, 2024, 4:51 PM

Updated 6 days ago


It's been only one day since the bridge on the southbound lanes of Route 15 in Jefferson Township, near Lake Hopatcong, closed and already it's causing headaches for drivers.
"We have about a seven to 10-minute commute every day, but now it's taking about 45 [minutes] to an hour to get here," said Kevin Jensen, the owner of GB Comfort Services.
The New Jersey Department of Transportation has been working for several months to replace the bridge on Route 15 South near Cedar Terrace, which crosses over the Rockaway River.
Mayor Eric Wilsusen says DOT officials on Monday decided to close one of the two open lanes because of structural issues. Then, on Tuesday afternoon during an inspection, DOT closed the bridge altogether, deeming it unsafe for travel because the bridge structure is shifting.
"This has put traffic onto one of my main thoroughfares which is not built for highway traffic. It's built for local traffic. People are complaining they can't get out of driveways they can't get out of side streets. Emergency response is going to be challenging at best," Wilsusen said.
The mayor says Route 15 South is a main thruway for many people in the community looking to get on Interstate 80. He says now that the bridge is closed, it's causing major problems - not just for drivers - but for businesses on both sides of the closure.
"People are not going to come around in this traffic, you know, to get in there and it's confusing already with the way our driveway is. But it's really going to put a big hindrance on the business," said Margrit Rahill, the owner of Turul Bookbindery.
"Our employees come from different areas so it's taking them a lot longer. All of our material in stock, is in the shop here, so we have to commute here to get all of our stuff to be able to get to the customers on time. So, yes, it's definitely affecting the amount of time it's getting us to provide our service that we do," Jensen said.
Wilsusen spoke with officials from the governor's office who are working on a solution. He is hoping they put up a temporary bridge.
The DOT has not given a time frame on when the bridge will reopen.

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