NJDOT breaks ground on second phase of Route 52 Causeway replacement in Ocean City and Somers Point
(Ocean City)—New Jersey Department of Transportation (NJDOT) Commissioner Stephen Dilts today joined with state and local officials in Ocean City to break ground on the second phase of construction on the new Route 52 causeway that provides a vital link to major Jersey Shore recreational destinations.
“This very busy construction site demonstrates how our state and federal recovery programs are working to benefit New Jersey,” said Governor Jon S. Corzine said. “We’re creating well-paying jobs for our hardworking families by investing in transportation infrastructure projects that boost the economy now and lay the foundation for South Jersey economic development opportunities for decades to come.”
The causeway is used by an average of 40,000 motorists daily in the busy summer season.
The $251 million second phase, or Contract B, of the project will replace the two remaining lift bridges at each end of the causeway, eliminate the Somers Point Circle and improve MacArthur Boulevard in Somers Point. NJDOT also will provide a new visitor’s center, multi-use sidewalks for bicyclists and pedestrians and several fishing piers as part of the project. Approximately $70 million in American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) funds are supporting the project.
“As we move into the second phase of this project, area residents and visitors alike will benefit from a modern causeway over Great Egg Harbor Bay, providing a convenient link between Somers Point in Atlantic County and Ocean City in Cape May County,” NJDOT Commissioner Stephen Dilts said.
NJDOT began roadway reconstruction of the Route 52 approaches to the bridge over Beach Thorofare, in Ocean City in early-September. NJDOT has reduced Route 52 from two lanes to one lane in each direction and has shifted traffic to the west in Ocean City from West Avenue to Garrets Island. This traffic pattern will remain in place to May, 2010.
NJDOT planned the project in a manner that minimally impacts traffic. No detours are planned during construction, and two lanes will remain open to traffic in each direction on Route 52 during the summer months. The project is expected to be completed by the end of 2012.
The initial, $145 million phase of construction, Contract A, began in October 2006 and includes the replacement of 1.2 miles of the interior portion of the 76-year-old Route 52 causeway from Elbow Island to Garrett’s Island. In April 2008, NJDOT opened to traffic the new northbound bridge, which is located east of the existing causeway. The old causeway has been demolished and the new southbound roadway was completed in spring 2009, almost six months ahead of schedule.
ARRA funds are stimulating New Jersey's economy by creating or supporting thousands of transportation-related jobs and making long-term improvements to roads, bridges and the transit system.
NJDOT is investing $469 million in ARRA funding in more than 40 road and bridge construction and design projects, including the Route 52 causeway. Most of the projects are under way now, with all construction projects expected to have shovels in the ground and design projects under way by the end of the year, well ahead of federal deadlines.