Route 36 Highlands Bridge wins prestigious
(Trenton) - The new Route 36 Highlands Bridge that links Sea Bright and Highlands in Monmouth County has been recognized for its modern design and its architectural features that pay homage to the old lift bridge it replaced.
The new $134 million fixed bridge over the Shrewsbury River, completed in December, has earned the 2011 Project of the Year Award from the New Jersey section of the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE). NJDOT project representatives accepted the award at the NJ ASCE Annual Awards Dinner Friday, May 6.
“With this project, we eliminated the worst-rated moveable bridge in the state with an attractive fixed structure that eliminates the traffic congestion associated with raising and lowering the old span,” said NJDOT Commissioner James Simpson. “It incorporates modern features to accommodate pedestrians and bicyclists as well as automobile traffic in a safe manner.”
“We worked closely with the local residents who were very concerned about the visual impact of the new bridge,” NJDOT Project Manager Pankesh Patel said. “We designed the railings to provide views of the ocean, adjusted the size and location of signage and replicated decorative tiles that were on the old bridge.”
The new bridge has an underclearance of 65 feet above the river, allowing marine traffic to pass underneath with no need for a lift mechanism. It provides access to popular shore destinations including Sandy Hook Gateway National Recreation Area. It replaced a 1,240-foot structure which included a 140-foot double-leaf bascule bridge built in 1932.
Construction began in February 2008 and the new bridge was opened in stages with the first half open to traffic 45 days early on Oct 30, 2009. The completed bridge was fully opened to traffic on time in December 2010.
The new bridge consists of twin pre-cast segmental concrete box girder structures built by the balanced cantilever method of construction. To enable the existing bridge to carry a minimum of two traffic lanes throughout the construction period, the bridge was built in two halves with the south (eastbound) structure constructed first while portions of the existing bridge remained in service.
To minimize right-of-way impacts for both towns, the bridge was constructed on a “nearly on-line” alignment with a slight shift to the south so that the new navigation channel span cleared the bascule span enabling the existing bridge to remain operational during construction, while the approach spans on each side merge over and into the existing alignment to the east and west abutments in Sea Bright and Highlands respectively.
In addition to the bridge itself, the project included connectivity improvements among both communities, the Sandy Hook National Park and other recreational destinations. Pedestrian and bicycle access was greatly enhanced throughout the project area with the addition of multi-use paths on and off the bridge and two pre-stressed concrete pedestrian bridges over Ocean Avenue and Hartshorne Drive. NJDOT also incorporated a new promenade and landscape improvements to South Bay Avenue Park into the overall project.
The project was designed by Jacobs Engineering Group and Hardesty & Hanover, LLP and the general construction contractor was J. H. Reid General Contractors.
The American Society of Civil Engineers represents more than 140,000 civil engineers worldwide with 4,100 in New Jersey, and is America’s oldest national engineering society.