DEP letter lists High Crest Lake dam bridge as 'poor condition'

West Milford. As engineering work begins on the High Crest Dam Bridge replacement, a Jan. 6 letter from the state DEP lists it as being in "poor" condition. The cost of the replacement is expected to be borne by the residents of the development.

| 30 Jan 2020 | 04:15

New correspondence received by West Milford officials from the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection now lists the one lane bridge at High Crest Lake as being in “poor” condition.

According to a letter from the NJDEP dated Jan. 6, the Dam Safety Division advised that a recent report from GZA Geo environmental of Fairfield found the dam to be in “poor” condition with a dam safety permit application required by Oct. 31.

The application is to say how the existing deficiencies will be addressed.

State officials determined over a decade ago that the bridge was failing and had to be replaced.

It was described by the DEP in 2016 as being a “high hazard” structure. The bridge construction dates back to 1950.

A report from Civil Dynamics, a Stockholm based engineering firm, in 2016 said an existing problem was that the dam spillway was not large enough for the job it was expected to do.

The newly organized West Milford Township Council approved a $20,000 contract to GZA Geo environmental on Jan. 15 for some initial engineering work for the bridge replacement project.

The total cost of replacing the bridge and repairing the dam are yet to be determined.

No money from township taxpayers is involved, according to officials.

The private lake community of 280 properties has 86 of them fronting on the lake.

A loan to fund repairs to the dam was approved under a bill signed by former Gov. Chris Christie in Nov. 2014.

The money is being loaned to the High Crest Lake Association and repayment is entirely their responsibility, officials said.