Jessup's and Stout's Bridges
By the late 1800s, the mainline train line running through West Windsor was experiencing an increasing volume of rail traffic. At the time, neither Alexander Road nor North Post Road bent at the railroad tracks - rather, both continued straight on through, intersecting northwest of the rail line. Similarly, Clarksville and Meadow Roads had a different configuration as well. At the time, all of West Windsor’s roads crossed over the rail line at-grade, posing a danger to pedestrians and a liability to the Pennsylvania Railroad Company (PRR).
On August 24, 1895, representatives of the PRR met with the WW Township Committee to present a solution: to “do away with the V.D. & (Jediah) Stout’s Crossing (where Clarksville Road crossed the tracks) … and the Spitz and Jessup crossings (North Post and Alexander Road over the tracks, respectively)” and install bridges over the tracks in their place. These crossings were named after the farming families that lived at those locations – those of Jediah Stout, William Jessup, and Joseph Spitz.
By the next year, land was vacated and the bridges - "Stouts Bridge" and "Jessup's Bridge" - were constructed. These names would continue to be used for the next several decades. In fact, their last known mention in township meetings were in in 1932 (Jessup’s) and 1933 (Stout’s). Thereafter, they were known as the Alexander Road bridge and Clarksville Road bridge, respectively.
Over the years, both overpasses have undergone numerous updates – from road widenings to approach and intersection reconfigurations to structural replacements. In 2008, the Alexander Road bridge was fully replaced, including with a new roundabout instead of the old t-intersection, although its old Alexander and North Post Road approaches on the northbound side of the tracks remains a private avenue. Meanwhile, at the time of this writing (2023), the Clarksville Road bridge is set for replacement within the next several years. Still, despite the changes, one constant is that the overhead crossings remain as critical to West Windsor as the day Stout's and Jessup's bridges were built.
- “West Windsor.” Map. Scarlett and Scarlett's Fire Map of Mercer County, New Jersey, Including Trenton and Suburbs. Newark, New Jersey: Scarlett and scarlett, 1890.
- “West Windsor Township Meeting Minutes, 1797-2012.,” n.d. Original Township Committee meeting minute database located in the Municipal Center.
- “Virtual Public Information Center Date: December 1–15, 2022 Clarksville Road (CR 638) Bridge over Amtrak West Windsor Township, Mercer County.” New Jersey Department of Transportation, December 2022. New Jersey Department of Transportation. https://www.state.nj.us/transportation/uploads/comm/pubmeet/details/Handbook_20221128_082018_183500_ClarksvilleRoadPICFlyer.pdf.