The Route 36 project will replace the 75-year-old, double-leaf bascule bridge over the Shrewsbury River with a dual precast concrete segmental bridge. The project includes the ramp from the National Park Service Road westbound on Route 36 to Highlands and the approach roadway. In addition, the New Jersey Department of Transportation (NJDOT) will improve intersections in Highlands and Sea Bright, build pedestrian/bicycle access paths on and off the bridge, provide two pedestrian bridges, and modify the existing toll plaza at the Gateway National Recreation Area toll plaza at Sandy Hook.
The existing bascule span in the closed position.
The new bridge will provide a minimum vertical clearance of 65 feet above Mean High Water (MHW) Elevation 1.8. NJDOT will construct the new Route 36 Highlands Bridge in near alignment with the new navigation channel span located immediately south of the existing bascule span. Adjacent spans on each side of the navigation span will merge over and into the existing alignment to the east and west abutments.
The existing bascule span in the open position.
NJDOT will build the bridge in two halves, which will enable the existing bridge to carry a minimum of two traffic lanes during construction. The south (eastbound) bridge will be constructed first while portions of the existing bridge remain in service. After the south bridge is built, all traffic will be rerouted from the existing bridge to the south bridge. After demolishing the existing bridge, NJDOT will construct the north bridge. Traffic then will be rerouted to a normal eastbound and westbound traffic configuration on the new bridge.
As the bridge is a gateway to the New Jersey shore towns of Highlands and Sea Bright as well as the Gateway National Recreational Area, Sandy Hook Unit, aesthetics are an important part of construction.
NJDOT will incorporate architectural features including two monuments at the east and west abutments of the bridge in order to reflect the historic setting and character of the existing bridge.
The new bridge's historic features will include:
- decorative fish tiles replicated from the existing bridge, placed at the bases of the pylons.
- concrete pilasters featuring decorative fish tiles replicated from the existing bridge to support the roadway lighting poles.
- a five-bar open steel rectangular railing that will enhance the openness of the bridge and provide unobstructed views of the Atlantic Ocean.
- rustications/reveals in the pier columns and form liners on the waterline footings.