Freeholders plan to improve Maxim-Southard Rd. bridge

HOWELL — At its meeting last week in Freehold, the Monmouth County Board of Freeholders approved a resolution to retain the services of a professional engineering firm to design the reconstruction of bridge HL-72 on Maxim-Southard Road.

The bridge spans the Polly Pod Brook in southern Howell. The area around the bridge is essentially residential, agricultural, recreational and vacant.

According to the Monmouth County public information office, the freeholders have hired the firm of French and Parrello, of Holmdel, for a contract not to exceed $289,137. French and Parrello has successfully performed several similar projects for the county, according to the press release.

Freeholder Thomas J. Powers, the liaison to the Department of Public Works and Engineering, said, “The current bridge was constructed in 1956 and has not undergone any replacement, widening or major rehabilitation since. Recently, some repairs were made by the county in order to extend the service life of the bridge. These repairs included the placement of timber support bracing to alleviate the load on the existing superstructure.”

Due to the proximity of the bridge to Echo Lake, the project will include improvements to the spillway, which is the upstream feed for the Polly Pod Brook.

In addition to determining the condition of the spillway and dam, the firm will also try to determine ownership, as well.

French and Parrello will also be called upon to determine the need and/or extent of the rights-of-way and easements the may have to be acquired and coordinate the project with local officials. The contract will include engineering, surveying, environmental services and embankment stabilization. The roadway embankment functions as an earthen dam. The dam retains the waters of Echo Lake, which is within the municipally owned Echo Lake Park. The main entrance to the park is approximately 200 feet south of the bridge.

The firm will also obtain all permits, including the Dam Safety Permit, issued by the state Department of Environmental Protection (DEP), Freshwater Wetlands General Permits and an SCS Soil Erosion and Sediment Control Plan Certification.

A formal dam inspection and classification report will be prepared as part of the contract and will include recommendations for improvements to the existing dam and spillway.

Much of the land surrounding the bridge is Green Acres property at Echo Lake Park. As a result the DEP will have to be consulted in the design phase, according to the press release.

The design phase of the project is estimated to take 12 to 14 months to complete.