MORRISTOWN Construction on a new road connecting Main and Bay streets, bypassing the Morristown Bay, is underway.
The project, intended to prepare for the day when the bridge spanning the bay is closed, is designed to make it possible for emergency vehicles to travel more easily through the village.
Village Superintendent of Public Works Kevin J. Crosby said the bridge may have to be closed in the near future because of structural deficiencies, making travel between Northumberland Street, on the southern side of the bay, and the rest of the village a much longer journey for emergency vehicles.
Traveling from the Morristown Volunteer Fire Department to the intersection of Northumberland and Bay streets now takes two minutes.
If the bridge were to be shut down for safety reasons, the trip would take about 12 minutes, significantly decreasing the ability of the fire department to respond to emergencies, Mr. Crosby said.
Its 15 miles farther for the firetrucks and ambulances to go, and thats really our biggest reason for building the bypass, Mr. Crosby said.
Earlier this year the village purchased, for $96,000, 130 acres of land that stretches from Bay Street to Main Street.
The property formerly belonged to Craig MacDonald.
Mr. Crosby said the goal is to build a road connecting the end of Bay Street to Main Street across from the Morristown Cemetery.
For now our goal is to make it a dirt road and passable, Mr. Crosby said.
Starting this week the land is being cleared by hand by the village Department of Public Works. Mr. Crosby said the town Highway Department will help out as well.
To build the road, Mr. Crosby said, his crew needs to clear a 60-foot pass through the forest that stretches three quarters of a mile. That effort is expected to take two to three weeks.
Mr. Crosby said crews will lay the gravel for a dirt road in the spring.
Including the manpower, equipment and supplies that the construction of the road will require, Mr. Crosby said, the dirt road could cost up to $500,000.