New Jersey Roads - Paulinskill Viaduct

Paulinskill Viaduct


My first views of the viaduct are from the north side, panning left to right from just off Station Road.


Getting closer to the century-old bridge.


About as close as i can get from ground level.


I've now crossed under the bridge for views from the slope on the south side of the bridge's east approach, looking northwest as the ground falls away from the bridge arches.


The bridge is relatively accessible; there are no signs prohibiting trespassing and multiple ways onto the bridge. The easiest way depends on your skill set: you can park down the trail to the east or west and jog or bike here, you can park on Station Rd. and walk up the side of the trail, or you can park on Station Rd. and climb the wooden planks into the bottom of the first meta-arch (what else do I call this?). For this visit, I chose option 3, where there was a nice ladder of multiple angled planks, sticks, and ropes to help me up. If that ladder is not available and you have not brought your own, you can find these views by dropping down from the top through a conveniently placed manhole and following the inner trail of handholds seen in the last photo. As the meta-arches get deeper, the inner trail gets steeper, since the main arch is heading toward vertical.


You get an idea of the steepness from just one meta-arch up, looking back toward where I climbed up. The main arch drops away in a hurry!


Up through the manhole to the railroad deck, and I'm starting to rethink this. The "railings" are in laughable shape, and indeed, why would a dedicated rail bridge ever have even had them? They're not holding back anything that derails. Just staying on the east abutment gives you the age of the bridge and a taste of what it was like when active with minimal potential for death. Just add tracks and subtract trees.


The more adventurous person will travel across the span and out over Paulins Kill. Graffiti artists tend to be more adventurous, so they have turned an old parapet into a patchwork of art. The Delaware Water Gap rises to the northwest.


Looking north over Paulins Kill.

And looking south, mostly down, very down, so down, wow.


The most adventurous person will spy an open manhole and wonder what's inside. Besides a drain opening clogged with cans, anything else that was in here is gone, though it might have always just been an open concrete pit. The key is that there's another opening that looks out on the river far, far below. It takes guts to crawl into a tiny space that's about 60% floor and 40% certain death.


Okay, that was a white lie. It only looks like certain death from the top. Straight down from the hole is actually another meta-arch, with solid ground, and nothing to prevent you from falling out of it to certain death. For that matter, a misstep on the slanty rungs would bring certain acute pain.


Views south and north from my little window sandwiched between worlds. Others are walking above and below me, oblivious to my presence. One could live here, if one weren't afraid of certain death.


Deciding to live for now, I climb back up the slanty rungs and head back east off the bridge, back to the top of the page to start over.

Down onto Station Road
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