Route 72 traffic shifts upcoming
for bridge deck replacement over Route 9 in Stafford
Staged construction will keep the highway open in both directions with lane reduction for eastbound motorists
(Trenton) - NJDOT officials today announced that a new traffic pattern is scheduled to be implemented this weekend on the Route 72 bridges in both directions over all lanes of Route 9 in Stafford, Ocean County as bridge deck replacement work begins.
Beginning on Friday night, September 27, NJDOT’s contractor, Lucas Construction Group, is scheduled to fully close Route 72 eastbound and shift all live traffic onto the westbound structure – via a temporary crossover road – to set up the new construction zone on the eastbound bridge. Route 72 westbound has been reconfigured to carry two westbound travel lanes and one eastbound travel lane, with opposing traffic separated by barrier curb.
NJDOT anticipates this traffic pattern remaining in place for approximately three months while the eastbound deck is replaced, at which time the traffic crossover will be reversed and the westbound bridge will be closed while the new deck is constructed. During the latter stage Route 72 eastbound will carry two eastbound lanes and one westbound travel lane, with opposing traffic separated by barrier curb
The temporary crossovers will enable the diversion of live traffic off of each bridge as they get reconstructed. Diverting traffic across the median will allow NJDOT to accelerate the construction and complete each deck within a shorter time-frame.
• Each stage of construction will require the closure of select on/off ramps at the interchange.
o Motorists will be detoured via the existing ramps through the interchange
o A temporary traffic signal will be installed to help handle traffic connections from Route 72 onto Route 9 northbound
Initial construction activity began in July with the contractor constructing the temporary, paved crossover lanes in the median of the highway that will be utilized in the upcoming shift. This work was constrained to the median and has not impacted mainline Route 72.
The $3.5 million, federally-funded project is needed to replace the existing structurally-deficient bridge decks that carry Route 72 over Route 9. The existing 8-inch thick deck slabs will be replaced with 9-inch thick cast-in-place concrete slabs, resulting in a slight raise in the roadway profile. New bridge approach slabs, which do not exist today, will be added at all four approaches. The construction contract also includes sandblasting and painting of the bridge superstructures.
NJDOT has designed the bridge deck replacement work to be performed in stages, with at least one travel lane maintained on Route 72 in each direction at all times. The deck replacement work is taking place in the off-season to limit the impacts on Route 72, the only shore/evacuation route to-and-from Long Beach Island.
NJDOT is utilizing multiple dynamic message signs on Route 72 to alert motorists to all upcoming traffic impacts. Traffic management for this project is being closely coordinated with the ongoing work on the Manahawkin Bay Bridges project, about three miles to the east heading into Ship Bottom. A public information center was held in April to provide interested residents with the opportunity to review exhibits of the project, ask questions and discuss issues with representatives. NJDOT anticipates the project reaching completion in late-spring 2014.
The precise timing of the work is subject to change due to weather or other factors. Motorists are encouraged to check NJDOT’s traffic information website www.511nj.org for real-time travel information.