Department of Transportation

Frequently Asked Questions

Why is this work necessary?
The bridge is classified as Structurally Deficient due to the poor condition of the deck slab and fair condition of the superstructure and substructure and Functionally Obsolete due to the inadequate bridge roadway width. The need for rehabilitation of the bridge stems from its condition assessment found during recent Survey Reports and its resulting classification of this structure as Structurally Deficient with as Sufficiency Rating of 57.9. The following deficiencies and ratings are listed in the most recent report:
  • The deck is in poor condition due to spalling and exposed rebar underneath, deteriorated top of deck repairs and medium to wide cracks on the top of the deck. There are also several concrete curb sections that partially protrude into the roadway.
  • The superstructure is in fair condition as it exhibits corrosion throughout the bascule span. Several bearings are leaning excessively in the approach spans. Additionally, the paint system in the bascule span has failed.
  • The substructure is rated in fair condition due to deterioration on pile caps and pier caps.
  • The latest underwater inspection report states that the underwater components are in fair condition.
  • Based on inspection, the mechanical systems located outside the machinery enclosure and the span locks have experienced extensive deterioration.
  • An electrical inspection determined that the gates are not per current standards. The control system is in need of replacement. The motors, generator, switches, conduits and wiring also need replacement.
deck photo bascule span photo
These views show the spalling that occurred underneath the deck (left) and the corroded steel (right).
What is the project schedule?
The project began construction in November 2015. Long term lane closures/traffic shifts and marine traffic restrictions for off-season construction is anticipated to last for three seasons starting November 2015 and likely to be completed before Summer 2018. Summer traffic in each season will not be impacted as all lanes will be open on both bridges.
How will travel be impacted?
Construction will be staged to maintain existing traffic capacity during the peak summer season, with three travel lanes in both the westbound and eastbound directions from about May 1 through October 31 annually from 2015 to 2018. The construction season will be limited to November 1 to April 30 each year.

During each construction season, the Mathis Bridge will be closed to all vehicular traffic. All traffic will be shifted to the westbound Tunney Bridge. Two lanes will be maintained in the westbound direction and one lane in the eastbound direction on the Tunney Bridge into and from Toms River to Seaside Heights, from west of Fischer Boulevard to east of Catalina Avenue. Temporary crossovers will also be constructed at either end to shift eastbound traffic to/from the Tunney Bridge. The existing access to the local businesses and the lane along the southern side of Route 37 eastbound in Toms River will be maintained during construction.

The United States Coast Guard has allowed for the bascule span to remain in the down position between December 1 and April 17 in 2015/2016, December 1 and April 21 in 2016/2017 and December 1 and March 30 in 2017/2018. During this restricted period, boats not requiring a bridge opening will still be allowed to pass through.

Additionally, the Douglas Street jug handle for left turns and through movements adjacent to the bridge will be maintained during construction. During off-peak construction seasons a minor detour, only for the right turn movement from the jug handle to eastbound traffic, is anticipated. A new traffic signal at the Douglas Street jug handle will be included in the final stage of construction.

Does the New Jersey Department of Transportation (NJDOT) plan to widen the travel lanes on Mathis Bridge?
Yes. Mathis Bridge currently has two nine-foot lanes and one ten-foot lane. To improve safety, this will be upgraded to three ten-foot lanes when construction is completed.
How much will it cost and who will pay for it?
The project was awarded for $56.4 million and is funded in the Transportation Improvement Program (TIP) through the National Highway Performance Program.
What other NJDOT improvement projects are nearby?
The Route 35 Reconstruction Project is currently in construction and is anticipated to be completed in 2015. This project is in the vicinity of Island Beach State Park north to Point Pleasant.

The Route 166 intersection improvement project, Route 166 from Highland Parkway (Milepost 1.85) north to Old Freehold Road (Milepost 2.22) and Route 37 from the vicinity of the Garden State Parkway (Milepost 6.33) east to the vicinity of Thomas Avenue (Milepost 6.81) is currently under construction.

The Route 37 resurfacing project, Thomas Avenue (Milepost 6.81) to Fischer Boulevard (Milepost 10.89) is expected to be bid at the end of 2018 and begin construction in Spring 2019.

How can I stay informed or offer suggestions?
Check this web site regularly for updated information.
What if I have other questions or concerns about the project?
NJDOT encourages community members to voice their concerns and contribute suggestions to the Project Team. To provide input, attend one of the public meetings or contact:
Office of Community and Constituent Relations
New Jersey Department of Transportation
1035 Parkway Avenue
Trenton, NJ 08625

Last updated date:October 28, 2020 3:25 PM->