The bridge is past its expected lifetime and has needed replacement for years. However, it is not at risk for imminent collapse. Morris County wants to replace it at county expense, but the County requires a standard width of 26 feet. This is wider than the current bridge (20 ft) and wider than the road. HT can replace the bridge at its own expense, at an estimated cost of $1.5m – no one is proposing that option.
It is thought by some, including many residents who turned out to voice their opinion, that a wider bridge will encourage more and faster traffic and will ruin the rural beauty of the area. Committeeman Nic Platt asked for time to work with the powers in Trenton to get an exception for Harding which, according to testimony provided, has been granted numerous times in Hunterdon County. Both the police and fire departments support a 20 ft wide bridge according the Mr. Platt.
As of this writing, Mr. Platt is working with Trenton to get the exception and reports that he has had several face to face meetings with high level officials in Trenton. Mr. Platt credits Assemblyman John McKeon for his efforts on HT’s behalf to get the exception fast tracked.