Essex County Public Works

About this Project

Essex County, New Jersey, established in 1683, is one of the oldest counties in the state. Over the years, it has grown significantly in size and population, becoming an important center of commerce and culture in the region. The Essex County Public Works Department was established in 1916 to oversee the construction and maintenance of the county’s infrastructure, including road and bridge construction, and the development of the county park system.

Essex Public Works

One of the most significant expansion projects undertaken by the department was the construction of the Garden State Parkway in the 1950s. This major highway runs through the county and provides a crucial transportation link to the rest of the state. In the 1960s and 1970s, the department oversaw the construction of several new county facilities, including the Essex County Courthouse, the Essex County College campus, and the Essex County Correctional Facility.

Essex County Public Works

The department has recently focused on upgrading and modernizing existing infrastructure, such as the county’s water treatment plants and wastewater management systems. It has also expanded its park system with the addition of new facilities and amenities, including the Essex County Environmental Center and the Turtle Back Zoo.

More recently, the county constructed a new public works facility and sheriff’s office in Cedar Grove, NJ. This state-of-the-art complex houses the county’s road and bridge maintenance operations, vehicle repair shops, and administrative offices, while also providing a centralized location for law enforcement operations in the western part of the county.

The building’s interior is designed to be functional and efficient, with ample workspace for the county’s road and bridge maintenance operations, vehicle repair shops, and administrative offices. It also includes a secure area for the sheriff’s office, with facilities for evidence storage and processing, as well as interview rooms and holding cells.

The building’s facade is made of cobalt blue-colored polycarbonate, a type of thermoplastic polymer that is both durable and lightweight. The polycarbonate panels give the building the appearance of a flowing and undulating form, inspired by the nearby Atlantic Ocean and the Passaic River, which are important natural features of Essex County. The unique design also includes the Essex County seal, which is prominently displayed on the building’s facade, representing the county’s rich maritime history, and the Latin phrase “Pax Et Iustitia” which means “Peace and Justice”.

The use of polycarbonate not only gives the building a distinctive appearance but also has practical benefits. The material allows for natural light to penetrate the building while providing excellent insulation, which reduces the amount of energy required to maintain a comfortable interior temperature. Additionally, the panels are resistant to impact and weathering, making them a durable and low-maintenance choice for the building’s exterior.

Overall, the project was a significant investment for the county, with an estimated cost of $66 million. The new public works facility and sheriff’s office are a testament to the county’s commitment to innovative and sustainable architecture while celebrating the history and natural beauty of the region.