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route 52 causeway bridge replacement graphic

Frequently Asked Questions


Q. Why is it necessary to replace the old bridges?
A.

Age and deterioration, increased marine and highway traffic, accidents and storms are some of the reasons why these old Causeway bridges need to be replaced.

  • Age. The four concrete bridges along the Causeway were 70 years old in 2006 and are subjected to stresses unforeseen in 1933. Their serviceable life is limited based on the New Jersey Department of Transportation's inspections and the ever increasing expenditure of tax dollars for repairs. Recent inspections identified severe deterioration of the bridge decks and substantial chipping and cracking. It became more cost effective to replace the bridges rather than to repair them.
  • Traffic. Both highway and marine traffic have increased with additional population and the popularity of the shore areas. The combination of both increased recreational sailing in the navigable channels and increased traffic on the bridges cause more congestion on the Causeway and its access roads and hamper access for emergency vehicles. The project will eliminate the movable spans to reduce traffic congestion during bridge openings.
  • Storms. Route 52 is an evacuation route and is a vital link to and from Ocean City. Waves wash over the two low bridges on the existing Causeway during storms rendering them impassable.
  • Accidents. Accidents occur because the Causeway's 10-foot lanes are too narrow and there are no shoulders to accommodate breakdowns. The new bridge's 12-foot lanes and 8-foot shoulders are expected to reduce accidents by 20 percent.
   
Q. What will be done in Somers Point?
A. The touchdown point of the new bridge, the former Somers Point Circle, will lead into a new four-way intersection complete with safety items such as traffic signals and pedestrian and bicycle crossings. MacArthur Boulevard will be widened to include a center turning lane.
   
Q. What will benefit pedestrians and bicyclists?
A. A 10-foot wide pedestrian walkway and bike path extends the full length of the project separated from the shoulder by a railing. The walkway will connect to a new Visitors Center and fishing areas along the bridge and to other bicycle and pedestrian facilities in Somers Point and Ocean City.
 
drivers view of shared use walkway rendering
Rendering of a drivers view of the shared use walkway.
shared use walkway rendering
Rendering of pedestrians using the shared use walkway.
     
Q. Will there be detours and delays?
A. No detours are planned. While two lanes will continue to be open to traffic in each direction during the tourist season, there will be lane closings during the off-season. One lane in each direction and access to businesses will be maintained during the off season. In the event of an emergency, a detour plan has been developed.
   
Q. What is the schedule?
A.

Construction will be done in two parts:

July 2006 - December 2009
Construction will continue on the existing north- and southbound lanes of the Route 52 bridges at Elbow and Garrets Islands and the roadway over Rainbow Island. The northbound lanes will be built first without interfering with traffic. The southbound lanes will be constructed after traffic shifts over from the existing Causeway to the newly constructed northbound lanes prior to Memorial Day 2008.

June 2009 - September 2013
The rest of the causeway, including the elimination of the the two drawbridges, at the Ocean City and Somers Point limits and the elimination of the Somers Point Circle will take place along with improvements to MacArthur Boulevard.

This project extends from the intersection of Routes 9 and 52 in Somers Point, south along Route 52 (MacArthur Boulevard), through the Somers Point Circle and over Great Egg Harbor Bay to Ocean City at Ninth Street and Bay Avenue.

   
 
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  Department of Transportation
  P.O. Box 600
  Trenton, NJ 08625-0600
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  Last Updated:  July 29, 2013