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news release

P.O. Box 600
Trenton, NJ
Contact: Steve Schapiro
Kevin Israel
Daniel Triana
RELEASE: October 9, 2015

Next stage of Route 72
Manahawkin Bay Bridges project begins


Traffic will be shifted to permit demolition and
reconstruction of north side thorofare bridges

(Trenton) - New Jersey Department of Transportation (NJDOT) officials today announced the implementation of a new traffic pattern next week as construction progresses on the $350 million Route 72 Manahawkin Bay Bridges project. 

Next week, NJDOT's contractor, Schiavone Construction Co., will prepare to shift traffic to the south side of the east and west thorofare bridges. The single lane pattern in each direction will start just west of the west thorofare bridge and conclude just east of the east thorofare bridge on Long Beach Island. This will permit the demolition and reconstruction of the north side of the east and west thorofare bridges. This new pattern will be in effect until the spring of 2016.

NJDOT will coordinate a shuttle service with the Greater Mercer Transportation Management Association for commuter pedestrians. Construction activity calls for temporarily closing the north sidewalk on the two thorofare bridges. A temporary bus shuttle service will accommodate pedestrians so there is no loss of travel capacity on Route 72 with this new configuration. 

Work on the $350 million Route 72/Manahawkin Bay Bridge project was started in 2013 and is expected to continue through 2020. The 3-mile long causeway links Stafford on the mainland with Ship Bottom on Long Beach Island, but is structurally deficient and functionally obsolete after 53 years in existence.

When construction of the new span is completed in 2016, the existing Bay Bridge, which is structurally deficient and functionally obsolete, will be closed to traffic for rehabilitation. Upon completion of the rehabilitation work, it will serve as the bridge for westbound traffic. 

The project is constructing a new bridge parallel to the existing one over Manahawkin Bay, providing the safety of a redundant route on or off the island in the event that one of the bridges needs to be closed. This design is consistent with Christie Administration objectives to build in strength or redundancy to better withstand future storms.  The existing causeway sustained relatively minor damage during Super Storm Sandy, but storm damage is a concern especially because it provides the only way for motor vehicles to enter or exit Long Beach Island.

The new bridge will be 2,400 feet long with a vertical clearance of 55 feet over Manahawkin Bay. Ultimately, it will function as the bridge for eastbound traffic once the project is completed.
This sequence was designed to preserve the current two travel lanes in each direction during busy summer seasons from mid-May to mid-September during daytime hours and weekends.  The contractor is allowed single-lane closures overnight and during the off-season, but one lane will always be maintained in each direction. 

During design NJDOT developed an extensive community outreach program which included a previous PIC for this project in 2010.  In addition, NJDOT developed a project-specific website available online at www.nj.gov/transportation.  Click on “In the Works” and select “Our Projects & the Environment” from the drop-down menu. Select “Route 72 Manahawkin Bay Bridges Project.”

Completion of the entire project - with details for all four contracts here - is scheduled for 2020. 

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 construction updates and real-time travel information and for NJDOT news follow us on Twitter @NJDOT_info.

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  Department of Transportation
  P.O. Box 600
  Trenton, NJ 08625-0600
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  Last Updated:  October 9, 2015