Traffic Soon To Be Shifted To New Manahawkin Bay Bridge

Dated: 03/15/2016

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Construction of the new Route 72 Manahawkin Bay Bridge is expected be completed by July. Traffic will be shifted to the new bridge in stages, one direction at a time, in the coming weeks, according to Kevin Israel, a state Department of Transportation public information officer.

“The staged shift will allow remaining work to be completed by the summer, including drainage work, creation of a median detention pond, curb, sidewalk, and guiderail installation, and installation of lighting,” Israel stated.

While winter weather has slowed progress for the reconstruction of the original trestle bridges on the east and west thorofares, contractor Schiavone Contstruction Co. had set an accelerated schedule with an earlier completion date than what is in the agreement, Israel said.

Traffic is expected to be shifted to the north side of the trestle bridges with work commencing on the south side in the fall. The restoration of the two trestle bridges is projected to be finished next July.

“While the weather may prevent the contractor from meeting this earlier goal, the project is expected to be completed on time by the summer of 2017,” Israel stated.

Most of the work on the north side of the trestle bridges will be finished this spring, except for the new concrete deck surface, which is the final riding surface spread over the bridge deck, similar to the top coat of highway asphalt, Israel said.

The contractor is expected to reinstate two lanes of traffic in each direction for weekend travel by April. Work will remain throughout the week with daily lane closures until mid-May, when daytime lane restrictions will be prohibited for the summer, said Israel.

The reinforced steel for the center median barrier curb, which was temporarily removed, has been installed. Crews will be pouring the curb sections in the coming weeks, Israel noted. The median is expected to be completed before the reinstatement of the two lanes.

Demolition and removal of the north side sidewalk and parapet are also finished. A section of the north side bridge deck, along with deck joints on both bridges, has been replaced. New concrete approaches have been installed for both bridges, and the corner sections of the bridge abutments, often referred to as the “wingwalls,” have been reconstructed, said Israel. Most of the new drainage inlets and pipes on the north side have been installed as well.

Work is continuing on the north-side roadway curbs, sidewalks, drainage inlets, pipe and other utilities. Construction of the pedestrian walk under the west bridge will begin soon, as well as renovations to the portions that guard the bridge piers for both thorofare bridges. Concrete restoration work underneath the bridges will also persist.

Proposed improvements to the Marsha Drive intersection at Route 72 in Stafford Township are currently in the final design stage, according to the NJDOT website. Drainage and traffic issues along Eighth and Ninth streets in Ship Bottom are also in the final design stage and are being discussed with borough and county engineers.

Article courtesy of— Kelley Anne Essinger

Photo courtesy of Ryan Morrill

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