Meeting On Manahawkin Bay Bridge Project Set For Monday February 9

Dated: 02/03/2015

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The New Jersey Department of Transportation will hold two information sessions next week on the improvements slated for the Causeway bridges than span Route 72 over Manahawkin Bay.

The bridges are showing signs of structural deterioration and aging and is not safe for pedestrians and bicyclists, according to the DOT.

“Route 72 is the only vehicular route from the Long Beach Island communities to the mainland and is the sole emergency evacuation route off of the island,” a DOT information sheet states. ” Long Beach Island is an important summer tourist destination for the region and thus is vital to the economic viability of the region.”

The first information session will run from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. at the Ship Bottom Borough Hall, 1621 Long Beach Boulevard. The second session will be held from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. at the Stafford Township Municipal Building, 260 East Bay Avenue in Manahawkin.

Residents are asked to provide comments at the meeting, by mail or by e-mail.

“A brief presentation will be given at 2:30 p.m. and at 6:30 p.m., respectively,” the DOT release states. Please plan to attend either or both meetings at a time that is convenient for you. The meeting will provide an opportunity to view information on the design plans and the construction staging.”

The DOT has awarded a contract to rehabilitate the Causeway Bridges over West Thorofare and East Thorofare. The improvements include: pier cap rehabilitation, bearing retrofits, pile protection system, new parapets, and repairing and resurfacing the bridge decks, according to the DOT.

The bridge decks will be reconfigured to provide two lanes and a wider outside shoulder, which can accommodate bicycles in each direction. A six-foot sidewalk with a pedestrian safety barrier is also proposed along the westbound direction.

Reconstruction of the approach roadways, new storm drainage systems, a parking lot, highway lighting, and bulkhead/fender system repairs is also planned, according to the release.

The DOT has awarded a separate contract for construction of environmental mitigations needed to comply with environmental permit conditions for the entire Route 72 Manahawkin Bay Bridges project. The DOT, in collaboration with the US Fish and Wildlife Service, is constructing the restoration of a previous dredge disposal facility at the Cedar Bonnet Island Unit of the Forsythe National Wildlife Refuge.

The improvements will also include wetland creation, mitigation for freshwater wetlands, intertidal/subtidal shallows, and riparian impacts. Public access improvements such as public parking and new interpretive pedestrian walking trails to provide improved access to the Wildlife Refuge, the release states.

(Article courtesy of Patrica A. Miller Patch Staff)

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