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New Jersey Herald - July 13, 1967 issue
Overview map of the abutments and the road.
Article Subsections

Newton-Sparta Rd. Railroad Overpass Comes Down Today

Andover Township--The railroad overpass which has plagued traffic on the Newton-Sparta Road just outside of Newton for about 60 years, today (Thursday) becomes a thing of the past. The overhead steel girders which supported tracks of the Erie Lackawanna Railroad were scheduled to be removed this morning, presaging eventual elimination of the concrete abutments which forces traffic into a sharp right angle turn.

Calman J. Ambrosy, Jr., Sussex County engineer, announced on Wednesday that negotiations had been completed to remove the overpass on the abandoned Erie Lackawanna Railroad line to Newton ahead of schedule to clear the way for truck traffic during reconstruction of Yates Avenue.

Contracts for the Yates Avenue reconstruction were recently awarded by the Andover Township Committee and work is expected to begin on Monday. Because of the scant 11-foot clearance under the overpass, Yates Avenue has been the truck by-pass from the Newton-Sparta Road for traffic into Newton for many years.

Cooperative Effort

The successful completion of negotiations for the removal of the overpass was the result of a cooperative effort between Mayor H. Grant Leonard of Andover Township and Ambrosy.

The county engineer agreed to work with the township in attempting to arrange for the overpass removal before work began on the Yates Avenue project because truck traffic entering Newton from the Newton-Sparta Road, which is a county road, was forced to use Yates Avenue, a township road, as a by-pass.

Work on the project to remove the huge overpass was scheduled to begin at approximately 9:30 a.m. today after the heavy morning traffic has passed the area. The wok to be done by Salmon Brothers, Inc., of Netcong, as a sub-contractor to Hyman Michaels Salvage Company of Chicago, is expected to take approximately three hours.

Abutments Next

Ambrosy, through whose efforts final arrangements were completed, said that only the overhead bridge will be removed at this time. Complete plans call for the later elimination of the concrete abutments on both sides of the road and a cutting back of the remaining area.

According to Ambrosy, Salmon Brothers, working directly for Michaels, who has contracted for the removal of all and bridges of the abandoned railroad line from Andover Junction to Branchville, will use a huge crawler crane to remove the girders.

Ambrosy said preparatory work for the removal was to be done on Wednesday by the Michaels company. This includes all cutting and unbolting so that when Salmon Brothers move in on Thursday morning they can lift off the unbolted 36-feet long beams. Ambrosy said the two main girders spanning the road weigh seven tons each.

To Barricade Road

County Highway employees and state police will set up barricades on each side of the bridge during the removal and all traffic will be diverted over Yates Avenue to Stickle Pond Road and right on Stickle Pond Road back to Sparta Avenue on the other side of the overpass for traffic coming into Newton and the reverse for traffic using the Newton-Sparta Road out of Newton.

Mayor Leonard issued an urgent plea to residents of Yates Avenue to avoid parking on the street this morning when all traffic will be diverted from the Newton-Sparta Road through Yates Avenue while the overpass girders are being removed.

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