Bridge Inspected, Train Speed Lowered After Each Bridge Strike
Transit spokesman says the Watchung Avenue overpass, which has been hit six times in two months, is safe for trains to travel.
New Jersey Transit spokesman John Durso, Jr. said the Watchung Avenue overpass is inspected and a speed restriction enforced on trains traveling between Summit and Chatham after each of the numerous hits to the bridge.
"All bridges on NJ Transit’s network are inspected once a year," Durso said. "The last time the Watching overpass was fully inspected was April 10 of this year."
In the meantime, Durso said the bridge is visually inspected after police inform them the bridge has been hit.
Until inspectprs arrives "A speed restriction is in place on the bridge for rail traffic until the next inspection," Durso said.
Two inspectors are dispatched to the scene of a bridge strike: A bridge inspector who looks for structural damage to the bridge, and a track inspector who makes sure the rails were not impacted.
"If there is any impact that has taken place to the bridge [from the strike,] additional action will be immediately ordered," Durso said.
In the past two months, the New Jersey Transit overpass above Watchung Avenue has been struck six times by trucks too big to fit through its 11-foot, 4-inch frame.
Durso said he checked with NJ Transit's records and said inspectors were dispatched to the Watchung Avenue overpass after each bridge strike reported by Chatham Patch since July. "The bridge is safe for operations," Durso said.
Presently Durso said there are no plans to raise the bridge. "There are clear signs marked noting the height restriction for the bridge," he said.
As to why the bridge is struck so often, "Several of the drivers were issued summonses for careless driving. I think that speaks for itself," Durso said.
Each careless driving summons carries a fine of $85.
Editor's note: A previous version of this article mistakenly stated that NJ Transit had issued a speed restriction on all trains between Chatham and Summit until the next full inspection. The error has been corrected and Chatham Patch apologizes to our readers.