‘We are beyond thrilled’

Historic Farnsworth Avenue bridge to be repaired

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After several years of “speculation and worry,” the oldest stone masonry arch Farnsworth Avenue bridge will be repaired.

New Jersey Department of Transportation (DOT) Acting Commissioner Francis O’Connor recently joined Bordentown City officials and state Sen. Troy Singleton to tour the historic Farnsworth Avenue bridge. O’Connor officially announced that “the bridge will be repaired, rather than torn down and replaced.”

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“We are beyond thrilled … ,” Bordentown City officials said on their social media website.

In 2019, NJDOT had proposed plans to replace the bridge calling it “deficient.” In the proposal, Farnsworth Avenue would be closed for a two-year period. The Veterans Memorial was going to be removed and stored during bridge construction and then reassembled once the construction was complete.

“In a tremendous victory for the entire Bordentown community, the commissioner also announced that Farnsworth Avenue will remain open while the work is conducted, mitigating the potential impact on the Veterans Memorial and the downtown business district,” officials said.

Courtesy of Bordentown City

As the oldest stone masonry arch bridge spanning a railway in the entire country, the historical and geological implications of replacing the bridge would have been significant. Farnsworth Avenue was expected to be closed to traffic for upwards of two years if the bridge were to be replaced, and the physical and economic impact on the surrounding community could have been potentially devastating, officials said.

Together, city officials, Sen. Singleton’s office, and a number of city organizations rallied. They met and communicated with DOT officials numerous times, passed a governing body resolution, and signed petitions to advocate for repairing, rather than replacing the bridge.

“On behalf of the governing body, we cannot thank New Jersey DOT and Commissioner O’Connor enough for their willingness to listen to our concerns and work with us to craft a win-win situation for everyone,” Mayor Jennifer Sciortino said. “We also owe Sen. Singleton and his staff a debt of gratitude for quickly jumping into action and advocating for Bordentown City every step of the way, which ultimately helped us forge this compromise.

“This solution will protect public safety without creating any major disruptions that could have harmed our small, local businesses, the Veterans Memorial, or any number of historical features in our downtown, including the bridge itself.

“A special thanks also goes out to the members of the Veterans Memorial Committee, the DBA (Downtown Bordentown Association), and the [Bordentown] Historical Society who played a pivotal role by lending their time and expertise to advocate for repairing this historic bridge,” Sciortino said. “This was truly a team effort over the last few years with the community at large coming together and rallying to preserve our historic charm.”

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