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news release

P.O. Box 600
Trenton, NJ
Contact: Joe Dee or Tim Greeley

RELEASE: May 2, 2011


NJDOT announces new target for re-opening
Route 71 bridge over Shark River

(Trenton) - The project to rehabilitate the Route 71/Main Street Bridge over Shark River, one of three bridges in close proximity that link Belmar and Avon-By-The-Sea, Monmouth County, will take longer to complete than originally anticipated, the New Jersey Department of Transportation announced today.

The Department is making every effort to re-open the lift bridge to vehicular traffic by Memorial Day weekend. However, it might take until mid-June to complete the project. The Department announced an aggresive schedule at the start of the project to complete work in early May.

Crews are working around the clock weekdays and working two shifts on Saturdays to finish the complicated work of replacing the bridge electrical and mechanical systems as quickly as possible.

Until the work is complete and the bridge is ready to be returned to service, the detours that motorists and pedestrians have used since October will remain in effect.

The detours guide motorists and pedestrians to the Route 35 bridge, which is just one block west of the Route 71/Mains Street bridge. The Ocean Avenue bridge, six blocks to the east of Route 71/Main Street bridge, offers motorists and pedestrians another alternative to cross the Shark River.

NJDOT has worked with local elected officials and the communities to ensure that motorists using nearby detours are aware that vehicles and pedestrians have full access to Main Street up to the bridge itself on both sides of the channel, and that Main Street shops remain open for business.

The posted detours:

• Main Street northbound motorists in Belmar will turn left onto 8th Avenue and right onto Route 35 to cross the river to Avon-By-The-Sea. Motorists will take the Sylvania Avenue ramp and turn right on to Route 71/Main Street.

• Main Street southbound motorists in Avon-By-The-Sea will turn right onto Sylvania Avenue westbound and take the loop ramp to Memorial Drive (Railroad Avenue) to Route 35 southbound to cross the river into Belmar, where they will turn left onto 8th Avenue to Route 71.

The bridge has remained pinned in the open position throughout construction to allow for the unobstructed passage of marine traffic. The Shark River channel is one of the busiest commercial boating channels in the state and the bridge is required to open for marine traffic on-demand, per U.S. Coast Guard requirements.

NJDOT is completely rehabilitating the mechanical and electrical systems on the bridge and installing new safety barrier gates. It is part of a $17.8 million project that includes improvements to the Route 88 bridge over the Inland Waterway in Point Pleasant.

NJDOT provides emergency roadway information, construction schedule updates and real time traffic information and images at www.511nj.org

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  Department of Transportation
  P.O. Box 600
  Trenton, NJ 08625-0600
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  Last Updated:  May 2, 2011