NJDOT announces first structure of the
new Highlands Bridge to open to traffic
(Trenton) – New Jersey Department of Transportation (NJDOT) Commissioner Stephen Dilts today announced that the first half of the new Route 36 Highlands Bridge will be opened to traffic on Friday, October 30. NJDOT is fully replacing the Highlands Bridge which connects Sea Bright and Highlands Borough over the Shrewsbury River in Monmouth County.
“Opening this newly completed structure will mark a major milestone for NJDOT’s $124.5 million Route 36 Highlands Bridge replacement project,” said Commissioner Dilts. “Replacing the seriously deteriorated old Highlands drawbridge demonstrates our commitment to maintaining public safety and improving our aging bridge infrastructure.”
NJDOT has planned a staged shift of Route 36 traffic onto the newly completed southern half of the new Route 36 Highlands Bridge. Beginning early Friday morning, October 30, NJDOT will shift Route 36 southbound traffic onto the new bridge. Then on Friday afternoon, prior to the evening rush hour, Route 36 northbound traffic will be shifted onto the new structure. Traffic exiting Sandy Hook National Park will continue to use the existing bridge over most of the weekend period. By Monday morning, November 2, the new entrance and exit ramps to and from Sandy Hook Park will be opened. At that time all traffic will then be handled by the new structure. All work is weather permitting.
Subsequently, NJDOT will begin construction on the northern half of the new Route 36 bridge, as well as final demolition of the old bridge. NJDOT is scheduled to complete construction in December 2010.
NJDOT began construction in February 2008. The existing bridge, which was built in 1932, had reached the end of its useful life. The existing Route 36 Highlands Bridge was rated the worst movable bridge in New Jersey. This bridge is part of the emergency evacuation route for Sea Bright Borough and the Gateway National Recreational Area. The new bridge was designed to serve motorists for 100 years.
NJDOT has 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.
NJDOT has advance traffic management plans in place for summer 2010, the final summer season during which construction operations will take place. To better accommodate passage into and out of Sandy Hook National Park, NJDOT will provide a 4-minute traffic signal cycle with fully actuated traffic control operations. Additional cameras will be located in the park which, along with the deployment of Incident Management Response Teams on weekends, will help return wait-times into the park to pre-construction averages.
Variable message signs inform motorists of traffic patterns and travel times during construction. Construction information and real-time traffic updates are available at www.511nj.org.
This attached Powerpoint presentation elucidates the need for, and reasoning behind, the ongoing project.