Kolluri announces start of Route 36 Highlands Bridge replacement
(Trenton) -Commissioner Kris Kolluri today announced that the New Jersey Department of Transportation (NJDOT) on February 11 will begin to replace the structurally deficient Route 36 Highlands Bridge, which connects Sea Bright and Highlands Borough over the Shrewsbury River in Monmouth County.
“The replacement of the Highlands Bridge demonstrates NJDOT’s commitment to maintaining public safety and improving our aging bridge infrastructure,” said Commissioner Kolluri. “The Highlands Bridge, which is structurally deficient and is considered the worst moveable bridge in the state, is in dire need of replacement. The new bridge will improve safety and roadway efficiency and reduce congestion and delays.”
The $124.5 million, state-funded construction project will replace the existing Route 36 Highlands bridge, which was built in 1932 has reached the end of its service life. The existing Route 36 Highlands Bridge has been rated the worst movable bridge in New Jersey. The new bridge is expected to serve motorists for 100 years. This bridge is part of the emergency evacuation route for Sea Bright Borough and the Gateway National Recreational Area.
On Monday, February 11, NJDOT will begin to build a new fixed-span bridge over the Shrewsbury River, adjacent to the existing bridge. Initial construction will involve the installation of advance warning signage. Starting Friday night, February 15, NJDOT will close a single lane and shift traffic on the entrance ramps to Sandy Hook each night in order to build a temporary intersection in Sea Bright Borough.
NJDOT staged the project in a manner that will enable motorists to cross the Shrewsbury River throughout construction. Route 36 will remain open to traffic for the duration of the project. No detours are scheduled for mainline Route 36. Traffic will be maintained on the existing bridge while the south half of the new structure is constructed. Upon completion of that structure in summer 2009, traffic will be shifted to the new structure, and the existing bridge will be demolished. Subsequently, NJDOT will build the north half of the new bridge. NJDOT is scheduled to complete construction in December 2010.
The new bridge will provide a sixty five-foot vertical clearance over the Shrewsbury River channel and will carry two twelve-foot lanes of traffic in each direction, with a median barrier. The new bridge will also feature two eight-foot wide pedestrian sidewalks and two eight-foot wide bicycle lanes. NJDOT designed the new bridge to match the color and surface texture of the existing structure.
NJDOT will build two new pedestrian bridges over Route 36 in Sea Bright to provide safe crossings from the bridge over Ocean Avenue and Hartshorne Drive. The south pedestrian bridge will link the sidewalk on the south side of the mainline bridge to the existing multi-use trail along the seawall in Sea Bright. The north pedestrian bridge will link the sidewalk on the north side to the new extension of the multi-use trail in Gateway National Recreation Area.
Variable message signs will be installed to inform motorists of changes in traffic operations during construction. Equipment will be installed to measure traffic speed and advise the public during construction. State and Local Police will be utilized for work-zone safety during construction operations, as well. Construction information and real-time traffic updates are available at www.njcommuter.com