Why is this bridge study necessary?

The Martin Luther King Avenue Bridge was originally constructed circa 1900 and was widened in 1928. The bridge is currently functionally obsolete due to substandard deck width. Age, deterioration, and increased traffic volume are some of the reasons why this bridge is in need of major rehabilitation or replacement.

What is the existing condition of the bridge?

Based on the 2015 Bi-annual inspection report the bridge is in poor overall condition due to the superstructure and substructure condition with an overall sufficiency ration of 45.9 out of 100. The bridge is inspected bi-annually, and is safe to travel on, however, without significant on-going structural maintenance, the bridge could require restrictive load posting (restrictions on the type and weight of vehicles allowed to use the bridge) due to its advancing deterioration. The superstructure is in poor condition (4 out of 9). The substructure is in fair condition (5 out of 9). The bridge is structurally deficient due to the superstructure condition and functionally obsolete due to the substandard roadway width.

What is an LCD Study?

A Local Concept Development (LCD) Study is the first phase of the Local Project Delivery Process for transportation improvements. During this phase a Purpose and Need Statement will be developed focusing on the need to address structural and operational deficiencies of the bridge. The LCD Phase also includes data collection, coordination with local municipal officials, community stakeholders, and Federal and State permitting agencies; the development of a reasonable number of sensible and practical conceptual alternatives; and the recommendation of a Preliminary Preferred Alternative (PPA).

What is the schedule for the Martin Luther King Avenue Bridge LCD Study?

LCD Project Schedule (Major Milestones)

Finalize Project Purpose and Need Statement Spring 2019
Develop Conceptual Alternatives Summer 2019
Recommend Preliminary Preferred Alternative Fall 2019
Submit Draft Concept Development Report Winter 2019/2020
Complete Local Concept Development Phase Spring 2020

What kind of a bridge is the existing Martin Luther Avenue Bridge?

The existing Martin Luther King Avenue Bridge is a three span bridge, as follows:

  • Bridge spans the Whippany River in the Town of Morristown
  • Year Built: Originally constructed in 1900, widened in 1928.
  • Bridge type: three span, closed spandrel stone arch (roadway) widened with a stone masonry arch (roadway and west sidewalk) and multiple steel stringers with corrugated decking
    • Overall length: 66 feet.
    • Bridge roadway width: 30.5 feet.

How will the project benefit pedestrians and bicyclists?

As part of the Study, the project team is asking for input from the local officials and community stakeholders to understand what pedestrian and bicycle mobility and access is needed. As part of the LCD Study phase, when developing the project Purpose and Need for improvements, all modes of transportation are taken into consideration regarding the bridge, including: pedestrians, cyclists, transit, vehicular, and marine uses.

Have the project’s improvements been decided?

No. The reason for this Study is to identify what are the current transportation issues and needs regarding the Martin Luther King Avenue Bridge, and to develop the Purpose and Need for bridge improvements. The project is currently in the Local Concept Development (LCD) phase to identify the needs, develop conceptual alternatives, and recommend a Preliminary Preferred Alternative (PPA) for bridge improvements. A Resolution of Support from the local officials is required. The Project Team will also coordinate with regulatory agencies before advancing the project to design and construction. Morris County and cooperating agencies will continue to seek community input on the design and proposed transportation improvements during the LCD phase and future phases of the project.

How much will it cost and who will pay for it?

The cost of implementing the Preliminary Preferred Alternative (PPA) will be estimated as part of the Local Concept Development (LCD) Study and will qualify to be funded with Federal dollars if it meets the Federal requirements.

How will the project affect the environment?

As part of the Local Concept Development (LCD) Process, an environmental screening is performed. The environmental screening identifies the issues, concerns, and potential “fatal flaws” related to the social, economic, and environmental resources that will aid in establishing impacts for the various alternatives. The screening includes a review of the potential impacts to air/noise receptors, ecological constraints, cultural resources, publicly owned parks and recreation areas, wildlife or waterfowl refuges, hazardous materials (known contaminated sites), socioeconomics, and environmental justice.

At this stage in the project, the environmental screening has been prepared and reviewed by the New Jersey Department of Transportation (NJDOT) Bureau of Environmental Program Resources (BEPR). Once conceptual alternatives are developed, each alternative will be evaluated for its potential impacts to the environment, which will be a consideration in the recommendation of the Preliminary Preferred Alternative (PPA).

Why get involved?

The primary tasks of stakeholder coordination and engaging public opinion is to assist in the development of the project Purpose and Need Statement, provide input into the Goals and Objectives of the bridge improvement project, and review and provide comments regarding the recommendation of the Preliminary Preferred Alternative (PPA) based on the Project Purpose and Need.

The project team is very interested in knowing how the local community uses the bridge, any current approach roadway concerns, and how the public sees possible conceptual alternative solutions. Community Outreach during the Study is a vital part of the Local Concept Development (LCD) process and we encourage the community to participate.

Why attend the public meetings?

Attendance at public meetings is good way to make your voice heard and to ensure a successful project the meets the community’s needs and aspirations. If you are unable to attend a meeting, you can keep tabs on new project developments by visiting the Project Website and reviewing the meeting summary reports, and PowerPoint presentations. Naturally, coming out to the meeting is the best way to stay involved, provide input, and have your answers, first hand, with the project team present. However, if you still have questions, we’ve made it easy for you to reach your County official directly by using the online contact form.

How can I stay informed or offer suggestions?

Morris County and the cooperating agencies of NJTPA and NJDOT, are committed to developing transportation improvements that best balance transportation needs, the environment, community concerns and cost. As part of the Community Outreach effort, numerous meetings will be held to share project information and obtain input.


  • Check this Website regularly for updated information
  • Attend Public Information Center meetings
  • Complete the General Comment Form here.

What if I have other questions or concerns about the project?

Morris County and the cooperating agencies of NJTPA and NJDOT, encourages community members to voice their concerns and contribute suggestions to the Project Team. To provide input, attend one of the public meetings or contact:

Contact Information

Danielle Ferland, P.E.
Morris County Project Manager
P.O. Box 900
Morristown, NJ 07963-0900
Email: dferland@co.morris.nj.us
Telephone: 973-829-8622