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news release

P.O. Box 600
Trenton, NJ

Contact: Joe Dee or Tim Greeley

RELEASE: May 20, 2011


Rehabilitated Route 71 Bridge over
Shark River opening to vehicular traffic today

Fully operational bridge will benefit
local businesses as summer approaches

(Trenton) - The Route 71/Main Street Bridge that links Belmar with Avon-By-The-Sea in Monmouth County will be reopened today to vehicular and pedestrian traffic.

Testing of the new electrical and mechanical systems that have been installed as part of a major rehabilitation of the lift bridge are complete and indicate that all systems are functioning as intended. Starting today, bridge operators will raise and lower the moveable portions of the span on a regular schedule to allow marine traffic to pass.

The New Jersey Department of Transportation and its contractor worked to reach substantial completion as quickly as possible to benefit local business owners, residents and visitors. The bridge was pinned in the up, or open, position since October, 2010, when construction started.

We promised local officials and business owners that we would do everything possible to get the bridge back in service by Memorial Day, which is the traditional start of the Jersey Shore summer season, said NJDOT Commissioner James Simpson. I'm pleased we have been able to beat that deadline and wish the businesses and the towns a safe and prosperous summer.

We are pleased that the project is coming to an end and we can move forward into the summer knowing the bridge will operate properly," said Belmar Mayor Doherty.

The bridge will be raised and lowered on its normal 30-minute schedule beginning today. Work on travel lanes will continue for the next few weeks with single-lane and shoulder closures in each direction, but this work will not affect bridge operations.

Work was accelerated earlier this spring, with crews working around the clock weekdays and two shifts on Saturdays to finish the complicated work of replacing the bridge electrical and mechanical systems as quickly as possible.

Motorists have been using two nearby detour routes since October. Throughout construction NJDOT has worked with local elected officials and the communities to ensure that motorists using nearby detours were aware that vehicles and pedestrians had full access to Main Street up to the bridge itself on both sides of the channel, and that Main Street shops remained open for business.

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.

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 20, 2011