Montclair’s Edgemont Park Bridge To Be Demolished; New Bridge Possibly By Summer 2023

Montclair, NJ – It’s been symbolic of how Montclair government can move too slowly, but now there’s an update on the long-closed Edgemont Park bridge.

According to engineers Neglia & Associates, a pre-construction meeting was held on November 8, 2022 for this project. Below is the anticipated project schedule:

  • Geotechnical investigations were performed on-site as of November 8, 2022. We anticipate 1-2 weeks for the completion of soil testing and report for results.
  • New bridge design is anticipated to begin after Thanksgiving. Once all bridge submittals have been reviewed and approved, it is expected to take approximately 3-6 months for bridge fabrication to be completed. Once fabrication is complete, installation of the new bridge can begin.
  • In the interim, the Contractor will work to demolish the existing bridge to secure the site from any hazards that may be present until the new bridge can be installed. No date for this work has been determined yet but it is expected to occur in the coming weeks.

“I am happy for the good news that we finally have a plan to move forward for a new bridge, but it looks like it will take quite a while for completion,” says Second Ward Councilor Robin Schlager. “As long as the soil testing is deemed safe, we’re probably looking at Summer/Fall 2023 for completion.”

“It’s been a great frustration for me, that this bridge has not been replaced for so long. I know there have been some obstacles along the way. I just hope that this timeline is accurate and we get the new bridge as soon as we possibly can,” Schlager says. “I am of course grateful that no one has been injured while we await these renovations and that that continues until installation. I have asked the Acting Town Manager to keep me updated on the process.”

“All of our Montclair parks need to be maintained to the highest level of care. Edgemont Park is a very special place for our township and I am grateful to the volunteers of The Friends of Edgemont Park group for all they do and for their dedication in looking after the park,” she adds.


The bridge has been closed since it was damaged due to Hurricane Ida. A replacement bridge was originally expected to be completed in Spring 2022.

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24 COMMENTS

  1. Two years to replace a little bridge? The Empire State Building was built in 14 months in 1930!

    Here’s the real problem folks: On August 16, 2022, the Montclair Council awards a contract to CMS Construction for $187,750 to replace the Edgemont Bridge. How was it possible if, according to the timeline, the bridge replacement hasn’t been designed yet?

    Also, the article says there were no soil studies done. Findings of such studies can increase the cost multiple times!

    How is a contract awarded to replace a bridge for which there is no design and no essential soil analysis??

    Is the CMS contract a sham to mitigate public outrage? Shall we take bets on when this will get done and the final price tag?

    This is insane!

  2. You have some very good, fundamental questions. Let’s just hope nobody follows NJ EPA requirements and does any analysis of the river bed sediment for carcinogens. That will definitely spike the cost.

  3. Clearly this is parody, no? According to survey data from HomeAdvisor, the national average cost for building a new home is $285,000, which includes land, access to sewer/water, materials, labor, etc. That is for a House, regardless if it is built in Sussex County or central Nebraska. That is the cost to build a House.

    For $187,750 we are getting a puny bridge over a tepid pond, and likely there will be enormous cost overruns, delays, etc. I would like to see the name(s) of the township employees who signed off on this malarkey. I would like to see the full itemized spreadsheet for the project. I would like to see the RFP. I would like to see all of the competitive bids.

    Of course I’m joking. When Milo Minderbinder’s in charge, it’s all just a joke. When only a handful of citizens care, the Milo Minderbinders find a way.

    Meanwhile, someone on our block recently complained that a truck full of laborers began their gas-powered leaf blowing before 9:00 a.m. Citizen Activism in action!

  4. Still so puzzled.

    Councilor Schlager says, “It’s been a great frustration for me, that this bridge has not been replaced for so long. I know there have been some obstacles along the way.”

    For those of you not paying close attention, there were no obstacles other than the involvement of local government.

    For over a hundred years that little bridge was an unobtrusive amenity in a small, elegant suburban park. Some people think that at $187,750, its reconstruction represents an abuse of the public trust. I’m not one of those people. I’m a believer in government. I’m a liberal. I voted for Spiller. It is not an abuse. It is an obscenity.

  5. I have a huge old oak tree in my yard I would mind getting rid off. The town can have it, cut it two, lay it across the stream, nail some 2×6’s across the span, and have a nice natural bridge for less than 10k.

  6. Moose,

    I know nothing about cost of building bridges so I’m not going to weigh in on that aspect of it.

    However, I had to chuckle when you said: “I would like to see the full itemized spreadsheet for the project. I would like to see the RFP.” Those are public documents. If you really want to see them, request them from the town clerk. Granted, at the rate current Municipal Clerk processes OPRAs , you may in fact be able to see the finished bridge before you see those docs. But that’s a separate issue (serious and ongoing).

    Circling back to Edgemont bridge, it’s located in 3rd Ward. Elected official representing 3rd Ward is Robin Schlager. How, for the love of God, does Schlager allow a bridge in her Ward sit unrepaired for 2 years?! Why is she pleasantly smiling and reading proclamations and bill lists at council meetings instead of pounding her hand on the dais and demanding action from the Manager? I believe this is Schlager’s third term on the Council. Why, pray tell, does the 3rd Ward continue reelecting her? What was her election platform? That she desperately needed health benefits?

    Hey, Moose, wanna file an OPRA together? You will ask for the bridge docs and I will ask for records of Council’s enrollment in the town health plan. And then we will bond over pulling our respective hair as Clerk Nieves asks for the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd extension. After that, we will be told by the town attorney Paul Burr that everything we asked for is confidential pursuant to his own legally-challenged mind. Montclair city hall has become a circus.

    Government is supposed to provide governance and services. Instead, Spiller’s administration decided to provide entertainment. If the CFO is as good with money as they say she is, she will start charging admission to our council meetings, aka Montclair Vaudeville.

  7. pat.gottlieb,

    Good work reporting on Bridgegate 2!

    EyeCaramba,

    I voted for Spiller too. I’m not beating myself too much for it though – I voted based on what information was available to me at the time. He presented well and sounded promising. I was quite surprised that he beat Baskerville by only 100 votes while outspending her 30x. Hardly a victory…

    Anyway, two years later, I have a Recall Spiller sticker on my car. Despite the long list of failed projects proving appalling mismanagement of town, despite the pile-up of scandals, despite continued outrage and vote of no confidence from Montclair residents, Spiller marches on – covering his ears and singing la-la-la-la. The guy stubbornly insists on calling himself a liberal leader and the force of progress. All I see is an empty suit and the force of malevolence.

  8. Spiller and the Council are the consequence of an electorate that not only tolerates one-party rule, but embraces it and fights its alternative. Robin Schlager represents Ward 2 but walk around Edgemont Park and ask any neighbor who their Councilman is and 9 out of 10 will stare off numbly. Ask about the bridge and they will say what a shame it still isn’t fixed. Ask if they would vote for anyone but a democrat to fix it and expect to get in a shouting match. Possibly be called a fascist. Probably have the door slammed. But actually get the bridge fixed?

  9. flipside,

    If the town takes you up on your offer to repurpose the oak tree from your yard into a bridge at Edgemont, Spiller will show up at the ribbon-cutting with his big scissors (+ even bigger smile) and promptly take credit for your idea.

    Mayor Spiller at natural bridge ribbon-cutting: “FIRST AND FOREMOST, innovation, creativity, and thinking outside the box are CERTAINLY my priority. This natural bridge is a symbolic rendition and literal incarnation of the progressive values Montclair prides itself in and which, as your mayor, I am humbled and honored to uphold.”

    Hey, Sean: how about you try selling this and all your other “bridges” to folks in Trenton? I’m not a fan of the Trenton crowd but, still, my sympathy goes out to them if they are about to “inherit” you.

  10. News….Councilor Schlager and this Council have completely failed in their government oversight roles here. That’s because they would have been clearly within their rights under state law 40:69A-91 — not just to require the Manager to report on the work project status to date, and to have demanded he do the job but also, to legally require the specific staff involved to appear before them at a public hearing (not an executive session) and to provide sworn statements:

    a) exactly why there have been delays with full details not just accept the Manager’s report…

    b) who specifically, or what caused, and/or is still causing those delays and…

    c) what is, or is not being done to correct the situation and investigate who speficially dropped the ball — under oath. To cut right through the circle the wagon, head in the sand township administration BS.

    The Council was also legally within their rights to pass a resolution or ordinance requiring performance of that same staff and the Manager to finish the job within a designated time period, and if they didn’t like the answers they got after the sworn statements were given, to even add a line to the resolution that “the failure to provide or perform xyz by ____ date shall be considered a dereliction of pubic duty” — thereby putting impacted staff on notice that they could be fired for cause for continued non-deliverables. The Manager of course, could have been been fired within 30 days, a demand card Councilors never used for his failure to perform, until the CFO/Fire Department “testgate” came to the fore.

    Instead, Councilor Schlager and the rest of the Council have been content to just accept BS and general statements why things are not happening — dropping the ball completely in their monitoring, information gathering and township administration oversight.

  11. Discipulus, to keep all of this in perspective, I found this encomium from the annals of the NJEA.org website, which we must always bear in mind:

    “Sean M. Spiller’s path to the classroom and to union leadership is not the typical story of a youngster who dreamed throughout his childhood of becoming a teacher. His future could have taken any one of several paths: sports writer, professional hockey player, editor, biologist or psychologist.”

    And yet he chose us.
    I will be humbled and honored to supply the scissors.

  12. Re: Status of Magical Orange Parking Deck completion Frank Rubacky?

    Great question, Frank. Janice Talley, the Township Manager (Lori Price Abrams ward 3 Councilor next election) should be fired — just over this one. Zero enforcement — allowing them not to complete at least the front and south side for years to finish — if the claim was the owners now needed the new MC building coming to be completed in order to lock up the north side of the structure — side facing. It’s actually obscene at this point. Years…

    Watch for a 12th hour move by the owners to try and amend the final detailing — which the PB mandated (my pushing mostly) to make them adhere to the Redevelopment Plan. To make the building appear more like a normal structure and blend in more. Not some Route 46 aberration compared to the prek and BOE buildings. As was originally allowed in the design under the Remsen Administration.

  13. This is the idiocy of our township folks. A temporary bridge — just like this or others linked — could have been purchased and secured commercially for less than 2k, while the other official machinations (FEEMA/State EPA etc) went. on.

    Our council and top management peeps just have no creativity, no idea how to work with regulations and to work around them when needed.
    They don’t ask. Don’t question process and don’t think — how can I work around this if stopped. They just need to be removed asap.

    https://www.wayfair.com/Sams-Gazebos–Garden-Bridge-with-Cross-Halved-Lattice-Railing-Swan_Bridge-L3159-K~GAZS1016.html?refid=GX602165565789-GAZS1016_14662218&device=c&ptid=331670499347&network=g&targetid=aud-356699937073:pla-331670499347&channel=GooglePLA&ireid=16964309&fdid=1817&PiID%5B%5D=14662218&gclid=CjwKCAiApvebBhAvEiwAe7mHSKYblvKmH3BzHfmDAF9dxgYZemWICxOGs6tnWanyuO6nqxTzOmDuEhoCOWQQAvD_BwE

  14. Martin! Are you crazy? A $2,000 bridge? Did you even notice that is says “Assembly Required?” And it says we’ll need a screwdriver and socket wrench set. Where the heck do you expect us to find one of those? I swear, some people in this town are so unreasonable.

  15. You know how that meeting could have been an email?

    This two-year odyssey could have have been a two-month Eagle Scout project.

  16. Since the indifference in this town is only punctured when taxpayers are affected directly, maybe we take a lesson from the Untouchables, where Kevin Costner gets the judge in Al Capone’s trial to swap out the juries.

    In this case, all of the township’s desk job employees (sometimes referred to as “non-essential”…don’t get mad at me…Gov. Murphy started the idea during Covid, we, the governed, are merely fulfilling it; hint: all of them maybe?) will be asked to pick up garbage & recyclables, man the maintenance yard, fill potholes, etc. while Council members and Spiller will take the desk jobs and all that entails.

    It’s not crazy. People tend to respond when fundamentals are at stake. People whose garbage is not being picked up will notice; Mayor Spiller will be asked to answer those angry phone calls. Perhaps Councilor Schlager will figure out how to process a building permit. Yacobellis? Landscaping?

    As for sanitation and maintenance workers? They are generally effective, on-time and accountable. So I say let them do the books. If our town can come up with a $187,750 plan to build what is essentially a Lionel model-train sized bridge, our maintenance yard guys can probably do the job for 1/25 of that…let them divvy up the remainder as a profit margin and call it worker control socialism to satisfy the lefties in town. Crossing guards and bus drivers can manage police and fire until they get the hang of it; the disgruntled can apply for work in Glenridge.

    And we will put our quarterly tax payments into a dedicated escrow account until a full understanding is reached with the township that their B***S*** is no longer funny. I’m thinking of calling it Lysistrata Liberalism but of course am open to suggestions.

    Happy Thanksgiving, everyone. Pitchforks go on sale Monday (to avoid the Black Friday mob).

  17. This is what I absolutely adore about FEMA. If you are creating jobs, they’ll fund anything at 400% over cost. It’s a direct bump in approval rating of our elected Federal representatives. Of course, if it involves efficiencies or significant economies of scales, they pay like Scrooge. E.g. the MFD’s use of FEMA’s rates to estimate cost of Glen Ridge fire suppression services. Somebody should have been fired for that one, too. Everyone must have known this project would be submitted to FEMA. Chum in the water.

    FEMA was created to give Federal representatives their versions of the PAofNY&NJ and NJT appear as well-run, corruption-free organizations, yet funnel money.

    Oh, and has the Governor of Florida decided for his vast number of constituents to NOT apply for FEMA programs? I have this vague recollection about the guy saying he would never take FEMA $ and why was NY Metro getting FEMA $.

  18. Frank, perhaps consider no longer cut-and-pasting your commentary. I don’t see where FEMA is involved in the Edgemont Bridge. Am I missing something?

  19. Martin,

    Happy Thanksgiving! I think you let the cost aspect cloud your thinking on this project’s merits. If you want to know why this is such a mess, just ask the Friends of Edgemont. FWIW, I have never thought highly of this group, and their motives, for over a decade now. Their input is just for amusement.

    Maybe they can share their intimate, on-the-ground experience with the changing topography, the infrastructure and the many flood experiences. Maybe they can help focus everyone on why the replacement bridge will likely be double the length and width and another 6-figure investment is needed to dredge and wall the channel. Maybe they will share their floodplain maps?

    Maybe it is also time the Township gets a new engineering consultant?

  20. EyeCaramba,

    Paragraph 7, sentence 2 of 2. The Feds have some very different and often, more demanding requirements for requesting reimbursement for storm-related capital expenditures. Clearly, building a replacement structure at ground zero in our biggest flood zone is not one of them.

    It starts with the culvert under Parkway and ends with the drainage “improvements” made after the fact in an attempt to remediate bad planing & execution over many decades.

    My point? I know more ’bout the litany of these existing issues and I live over in the 1st Ward. This frankly astounds me. If the Township and the Friends of want to subcontract the care & feeding of Edgemont Park to me, I couldn’t do worse.