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Sept-22-11 Hughes presents 'Minimized' plan for Jacobs Creek bridge to freeholders
MEDIA CONTACT: Julie Willmot
TRENTON, N.J. - Continuing his effort to preserve critical historic elements in Mercer County, Executive Brian M. Hughes today presented the Freeholder Board a proposal for Jacobs Creek Bridge in Hopewell Township that preserves the historically significant truss bridge and constructs a new, safe bridge on nearly the same footprint as the existing span and roadway.
“We have heard the concerns of the board, DEP, and the residents and we believe we’ve reached a great compromise that takes a minimizing approach to this project without changing the original scope and goal of this project, which was to create a safe bridge and roadway that could handle today’s traffic,” Hughes told the board.
Hughes last came before the board on this matter six months ago when the board voted in favor of hiring engineering firm Parsons Brinckerhoff to come up with a concrete design for a new bridge and roadway that accommodates the thousands of cars that travel Bear Tavern Road every day. Parson Brinckerhoff was charged with coming up with a design for a bridge that considered a variety of concerns, including environmental impact, stream buffer, wetlands, historic preservation and cost.
Hughes also said the desires of various groups and stakeholders weighed heavily in the design of this bridge, and that balancing the interests was important.
“We heard from small business owners who wanted a new bridge; bridge experts and preservationists who asked us to save this significant Pratt Truss Bridge; residents who want to get from Point A to Point B in a timely manner; neighbors who believed their property values might be diminished and others who simply wanted to leave the roadway closed. We believe we’ve come up with a proposal that will please all but those who wished the road permanently closed,” Hughes said, “in that it achieves our primary goal of a safe roadway built to current standards but with minimal impact in almost every way.”
Among the key points and compromises under the design proposal include:
Hughes, who was recognized in 2008 for his preservation efforts by the New Jersey Historical Commission, said: “I know I share this value with the board when I say that this administration never stopped listening to the desires of the people on this matter. After more than 35 public meetings over 7 and a half years, we are still open to the wants of the public, especially when it comes to our historic treasures here in Mercer County: The Louis Kahn Bathhouses, The Hunt House, The Roebling Steel Building, hundreds and hundreds of preserved acres, and our most recent preservation of the Petty’s Run Archaeological Dig Site in the City of Trenton.”