It may have appeared quixotic at the start, but Township Committee person, Nic Platt won the fight on behalf of residents and other supporters to have the replacement bridge on Dickson’s Mill Road be only 22 feet wide. Morris County said it had to be 26 feet wide to get State funding. The bridge is in need of replacement as the foundations have been eroded by the stream that it crosses.
Residents were concerned that a wide 26 ft bridge would increase traffic speeds and increase traffic flow, which would lead to widening of the road thereby destroying the rural character of that area.
Nic Platt originally took the fight to Morris County which said the only way to get a narrow bridge was for Harding to pay for the entire project as the State required a standard size to get State funding. Platt then took the problem to the State DOT Commissioner. A turning point was Platt’s September letter to the Commissioner which highlighted new American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials guidelines on “low volume bridges” to the Commissioner’s attention.
Finally after a year of calls, letters, meetings and threat of a sit in (and strapping himself to the bridge), Mr Platt succeeded. The Commissioner, in a December 9 letter, agreed to a 22 ft wide bridge, slightly wider than the current bridge, but narrower than the supposed standard 26 feet.