About The Project

Somerset County in coordination with the North Jersey Transportation Planning Authority (NJTPA) and the New Jersey Department of Transportation (NJDOT) are conducting a Local Concept Development (LCD) study to determine appropriate improvements to the Picket Place Bridge. The project goals are to address the structural deficiencies of the bridge and increase safety for the traveling public.

The LCD study is the first step of the project development process. The process includes the following: evaluation of existing conditions; development of a Purpose and Need Statement; fulfillment of an Alternatives Analysis; and selection of a Preliminary Preferred Alternative. Community participation and stakeholder coordination is integral throughout all stages of the study.  Throughout the process, local officials, community stakeholders and the public will have an opportunity to provide comments and ask questions for consideration. Please see the section below for more details on the current study.

  • Project Kick-off (January 2018)
  • Data Collection (Early 2018): Review existing documentation, mapping and surveying, cultural resource report, etc.
  • Purpose and Needs Statement Developed (Early 2018)
  • Alternative Analysis (Mid 2018): Develop engineering alternatives and conduct impact assessment of alternatives
  • Selection of Preliminary Preferred Alternative (Late 2018)
  • Documentation (Late 2018/Early 2019): Prepare cost estimates, NEPA classification and documentation, preliminary engineering next steps, etc.
  • Draft Local Concept Development Report (Late 2018)
  • Final Local Concept Development Report (Late 2018)
Project Background

Location: Branchburg and Hillsborough Townships

About the Bridge:

The existing Picket Place Bridge over the South Branch of the Raritan River sits in a primarily agricultural setting. The bridge is located near the Neshanic Valley Golf Course and the Sourland Mountain Preserve. It connects Hillsborough and Branchburg Townships and provides connections to major roadways in the area including Route 202, Pleasant Run Road (C.R. 667) and Amwell Road (C.R. 514).

Built in 1979, the structure is 355 feet long and approximately 35 feet wide. It is a four span simply supported bridge, composed of pre-stressed concrete I-beams supported on cast-in-place concrete abutments and piers. The structure is classified as “Structurally Deficient” due to the poor condition of the substructure . It is also categorized as “Functionally Obsolete” due to its substandard deck geometry.

Public awareness of this study is critical since rehabilitation or replacement of the structure may involve detours and delays for the traveling public.

LCD Project Steps
Step 1 – Evaluate Existing Conditions

Data on existing conditions, including bridge condition, traffic conditions, crash data, local demographics, and environmental information, will be collected to help identify the study’s Purpose and Need, as well as the study team’s goals and objectives.

Step 2 – Develop Purpose and Need Statement

A Purpose and Need Statement will be developed early in the project development process. This statement outlines goals and objectives that should be included as part of a successful solution to the problem and sets the stage for the development of alternatives.

Step 3 – Develop an Alternatives Analysis

During the Alternatives Analysis process, a range of alternatives will be developed and evaluated to ensure that all options have been considered before selection of the Preliminary Preferred Alternative (PPA). The intent of the Alternatives Analysis is to satisfy the Purpose and Need and identified project objectives while minimizing impacts to environmental features and the traveling public. The conceptual alternatives may include a “No-Build” alternative, rehabilitation alternative or full replacement alternative.

Step 4 – Select a Preliminary Preferred Alternative (PPA)

A PPA will be recommended based on data from the public outreach process, existing conditions analysis, environmental screening, constructability review, anticipated impacts, and estimated construction costs among other factors. A conceptual plan for the PPA will be developed for the final Concept Development Report. Once a PPA is recommended with Resolution of Support by the municipalities and the County, and with concurrence from the Inter-Agency Review Committee (IRC), the project will move to Preliminary Engineering.

Environmental Process

Federally funded projects require an environmental screening that follows the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) process.  The NEPA process enables the project sponsor to establish existing socioeconomic and environmental conditions in the study area and weigh the potential impacts that may be caused by the range of alternatives under consideration. When analyzing the alternatives, federal and state regulations require careful assessment and mitigation or avoidance of the potential negative environmental impacts. Environmental resources analyzed include air, noise, hazardous or contaminated sites, parks, wetlands, water resources, social and economic impacts, and cultural resources such as historic structures and facilities.

Community Outreach

Local officials, community stakeholders, agency representatives, and the public will have an opportunity to provide comments and ask questions for consideration throughout the study. The primary tasks of stakeholders include the following:

  • Assist in the development of the Project Purpose and Need Statement
  • Assist in the development of conceptual alternatives
  • Assist in the recommendation of the Preliminary Preferred Alternative (PPA) based on the Project Purpose and Need

Learn more about Community Outreach

LCD Project Schedule

The LCD Study is the first phase for federally funded transportation improvement projects. The Local Capital Project Delivery (LCPD) Program provides funding to NJTPA sub regions—the 15 city and county members of the NJTPA—to prepare proposed transportation projects for eventual construction with federal funding.

This preparation involves completing the multi-step Capital Project Delivery Process developed by NJDOT. This process is designed to streamline project development and provide a common and consistent framework for federally funded projects at the local, regional and state level.

Local Capital Project Delivery (LCPD) Program

Local Capital Project Delivery Process

1. Local Concept Development
  • Purpose & Need Statement
  • Data Collection & Environmental Screening Report
  • Selection of Preliminary Preferred Alternative
  • Concept Development Report
  • NEPA Classification
  • Create Design Communications Report
  • Initial Public Outreach & Involvement
2. Local Preliminary Engineering
  • Approved Design Exception Report
  • Cost Estimates (Final Design, ROW & Construction)
  • Approved Environmental Document
  • Approved Project Plan
  • Preliminary Engineering Report
  • Update Design Communications Report
  • Continued Public Outreach & Involvement
3. Final Design/ROW Acquisition
  • Construction Contract Documents & PS&E Package
  • Environmental Reevaluations
  • Environmental Permits
  • Acquisition on ROW
  • Update Design Communications Report
  • Continued Public Outreach & Involvement
4. Construction
  • Completed Construction
  • As-Built
  • Update & Finalize Design Communications Report
  • Close-out Documentation
  • Continued Public Outreach & Involvement

Project Team

The Project Team is composed of members representing Somerset County, NJTPA, NJDOT, and other supporting consulting firms for engineering, environmental, cultural and community involvement support. See directory of project team staff and contact information below:

Sarbjit Kahlon

North Jersey Transportation Planning Authority
Project Manager

Sascha Frimpong

North Jersey Transportation Planning Authority
Manager, Local Programs

Lili Tsu (Primary Contact)

Somerset County Principal Engineer II, Bridge Section

Deval Desai

New Jersey Department of Transportation

Pamela Garrett

New Jersey Department of Transportation