Causeway Bridge Work Continues Without Impacting Summer Traffic

Aug 02, 2017
Photo by: Jack Reynolds

If you’ve traveled to Long Beach Island this summer or left the sandbar, chances are you’ve experienced a traffic snare or two. The good news: None of it has anything to do with the $350 million Route 72/Manahawkin Bay bridge project, which is on schedule to be completed in the spring of 2020.

That’s an accomplishment considering all the work that’s been done on the project, which includes a new drainage system, demolition of the old bridge and planning for the new lighting system.

“On the East and West Thorofare bridges, the contractor is beginning to make improvements to the highway drainage system on Cedar Bonnet Island, ” said Dan Triana, state Department of Transportation public information officer.

“As part of the new drainage system, a new bulkhead section was installed at the west side of the West Thorofare Bridge,” he said. “Since the completion of the bulkhead, Stafford Township has started to upgrade their water service by installing a new water main relocated to the north, away from the bridge, and away from the ongoing drainage work.”

Triana said the contractor is prepping to begin installing the new drainage pipe in the next few weeks. A new drainage line at the end of Third Street in Ship Bottom will be installed to help alleviate some of the flooding that occurs in the area after heavy rains.

Work on installing new retaining walls – necessary to stabilize some of the adjacent areas around the bridge – is tentatively slated for September, he said.

Meanwhile, this summer has seen the demolition of all of the concrete bridge deck, along with the smaller floor beams, of the original bridge, Triana said.

“We have started girder removal (largest bridge beams that support the floor beams) utilizing a combination of cranes working off of the temporary trestle bridges in conjunction with multiple barges positioned on the north side of the bridge,” he explained. “Demolition of the east abutment was recently completed, and the wing walls (side walls of the abutment) and the back wall for the east abutment are nearing completion.”

New beam installation is scheduled for August, he said.

“Additionally, several bridge piers have had pier extension caps installed, so the reconstructed original bridge will match the elevation of the new bridge, currently maintaining all traffic on and off Long Beach Island,” he said.

On the Hilliards Thorofare Bridge, the bridge deck on the south side has been removed and partially replaced, Triana said.

“Half of the bridge deck was poured recently with the remaining portion scheduled to be poured in August,” he said. “Once the deck pour is complete and cured, work on the south side of the bridge will resume with the construction of the bridge parapet, followed by the installation of new light poles.”

Several anchor extension blocks have been installed to help reinforce the pier caps, multiple beam repairs have been executed, and deteriorated concrete under one of the bearings has been removed and reconstructed. The DOT expects traffic to shift to the newly constructed south bridge and demolition to start on the north side, Triana said. Two lanes of traffic in each direction will be maintained.

As for the lighting, he said, a new, improved LED lighting system will replicate the original “String of Pearls.”

“One set of new lights running along the southern face of the new bridge has been installed and is undergoing testing,” Triana said. “A second set will run along the northern face of the original, rehabilitated bridge once it is complete.”

The new lighting system will feature LED fixtures designed to eliminate the need for repeated maintenance that was frequently experienced with the older system. In addition to the new string of pearls, a standard set of highway light poles will illuminate the bridge.

Gina G. Scala

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