DOT Rejects Additional Causeway Daytime Lane Closure Request

Jun 20, 2018
Photo by: Jack Reynolds

There apparently will be no more daytime lane closures on the Causeway this summer.

The state Department of Transportation has decided against a request by a contractor for a second round of temporary daytime lane closures to accommodate the pouring of concrete.

“The contract allows lane closures Monday through Thursday from 9 p.m. to 7 a.m. during the summer,” Steve Schapiro, DOT director of communications, said. “The concrete deck pours have been ongoing and will continue during those allowable lane closure hours.”

The state agency came under fire earlier this month after a temporary daytime closure was necessitated by work on the west abutment of the West Thorofare Bridge, which included installing steel sheeting into the bay floor between Cedar Bonnet Island and Bonnet Island, both located in Stafford Township.

Work was completed June 14, one week ahead of schedule, the DOT announced later that same day. Although some remaining sheeting work is required, it can be performed off the roadway and will have no impact on traffic.

Earlier this month, after pushback from local officials, agency officials said the severity of spring storms accelerated the deterioration of the slope near the west abutment of the West Thorofare Bridge, on the Island side of the big bridge, to such a point the integrity of the roadway shoulder and guardrail was threatened. That, they said, was the reason for the lane closures.

“The work required the driving of steel sheet piles, which was extremely loud and would be very disruptive at night,” state officials said in announcing early completion of the project. “As NJDOT’s Commitment to Communities, the Department worked closely with local officials to establish a schedule that allowed the work to get done in the shortest amount of time and in a way that minimized the impact to traffic and to residents.”

Work on the $312 million Route 72/Manahawkin Bay Bridge project began in 2013 and is expected to continue through 2021. The 3-mile-long Causeway links Stafford on the mainland with Ship Bottom on Long Beach Island.

As part of the project, a new bridge has been constructed parallel to the existing one over Manahawkin Bay, providing the safety of a redundant route on or off the island. The new bridge is 2,400 feet long with a vertical clearance of 55 feet over Manahawkin Bay. It currently has two lanes in each direction while the original Causeway Bridge is being rehabilitated. Ultimately, it will function as the bridge for eastbound traffic once the project is completed, with the rehabilitated original bridge carrying westbound traffic. For more information NJDOT developed a project-specific website.

The precise timing of the work is subject to change due to weather or other factors. Motorists are encouraged to check the DOT’s traffic information website, 511nj.org, for construction updates and real-time travel information and for DOT news, Twitter @NJDOT_info.

— Gina G. Scala

ggscala@thesandpaper.net

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