Traffic on the Route 72 Bridge
will return to pre-construction pattern this week
Two lanes in each direction will be restored until the fall
(Trenton) - New Jersey Department of Transportation (NJDOT) officials today announced that traffic on the Route 72 Bridge will return to its preconstruction traffic pattern this week as construction progresses on the Route 72 Manahawkin Bay Bridges project.
Tomorrow, Tuesday, April 19, traffic on the Route 72 Bridge will be returned to its pre-construction pattern with two lanes in each direction. Single lane closures will occur until May 14 at which time all lanes will remain permanently open through the summer. Project work will shift from the north side of the bridge decks to off-bridge work permitting summer traffic volumes.
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 is 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.
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.