The temporary steel bridge for Bellmawr’s Browning Road opened this week, with all traffic and pedestrian crossings directed over it! Today we check out the the bridge first hand, and walk across the pedestrian “tunnel” which sits on the north side of the bridge.
42Freeway’s Mark is obviously not a civil engineer, but during his walk and visual look at the traffic on the bridge, it seems incredibly stable. Rock solid. Considering the challenge at hand, this seems like an excellent solution.
Keep reading and scrolling for photos and video! (Admittedly I was testing a new small microphone while video recording, and it could’ve worked out better)
Browning Road Temporary Bridge
The temporary bridge was constructed near the center of Bellmawr NJ where Browning Road crosses over the dozen or more traffic and shoulder lanes of Rt 42/76 which are recessed below it.
As reported before, this temporary bridge is needed so that NJDOT contractors can demolish and rebuild the existing Browning Road bridge in place, which is needed ahead of placing the core 295 roadway which will be placed overhead.
The New Jersey Department of Transportation estimates the temporary bridge will be in use for 18 months as the new Browning Road bridge is developed in place.
The temporary bridge is a “bailey style bridge” and this particular mode was developed by Acrow, and is model 700XS Bridge.
This style of bridge developed by the British during the Second World War to aid the movement of troops and equipment across terrain which included small rivers and gorges. During the war these bridges were developed offsite and could quickly be transported and deployed at various locations.
Today the style is widely used in civilian road projects, typically for bridge rebuilding projects just like the one in Bellmawr.
While we’ve reported on this bridge project multiple times, I don’t think I’ve ever put out the dimensions of the final newly bridge to be constructed.
Well thanks to Jim Walsh of the Daily Journal, we have this excellent quote from NJDOT’s Steven Schapiro
“The current bridge is about 240 feet long, and the new bridge will be 389 feet long,” he said. The new bridge also will be wider, with 20-foot lanes compared to the current 18-foot lanes.
And it will be higher — “a minimum of 16 feet, six inches,” said Schapiro. “The existing bridge is 13-feet, 11-inches over the road.”NJDOT’s Steven Schapiro, to the Daily Journal
The bridge is two full traffic lanes without shoulders, and is a full 12 feet for each direction.
If you look at the video at the end of the post you’ll see there is plenty of room for cars and trucks, and in fact they traffic was moving at full speed.
Pedestrian crossings are handled by a separate fenced tunnel attached to the north side of the temporary bridge. It is a strong chain linked enclosure with orange netting.
I am going to estimate the width of the pedestrian walkway at 4 feet.
Also clearly visible is piping on the south side of the bridge, which are there for utilities which also had been running under the Browning Road bridge. And obviously yes, once the new bridge is complete they will have to move the utilities again!
Traffic Changes: Willow Place
A small traffic change was implemented for residents in Bellmawr Park who use the parking lot at the west end of the bridge. From NJDOT:
Willow Place is located at the west end of the Browning Road Bridge and provides access to a parking lot for residences. The road will be extended from the parking lot to connect to the end of Victory Drive. The new traffic pattern on Willow Place will be one-way from Browning Road toward Victory Drive. Traffic on Willow Place will not be able to exit onto Browning Road and will need to take Victory Drive to Browning Road. On Sunday night, the street parking in front of the residences facing Browning Road between Victory Drive and Willow Place will be replaced with striped parking spaces.NJDOT regarding Willow Place parking access.