Christie Administration announces Route 52 causeway to be restored to four travel lanes through peak summer season
Full capacity to be available starting Friday
(Trenton) - The Christie Administration announced today that two travel lanes in each direction will be available to motorists starting Friday, May 13 through Labor Day on the Route 52 causeway that links the Jersey Shore destinations of Somers Point, Atlantic County and Ocean City, Cape May County.
Full travel capacity will be available during the entire summer season, benefiting residents, business owners and visitors as work on the $400 million causeway replacement project continues through the summer and into next year.
A new two-lane fixed bridge over Beach Thorofare near Ocean City has been completed and will be opened to traffic on Friday. That bridge will accommodate two lanes of southbound traffic heading to Ocean City.
The existing lift bridge near the Ocean City end of the causeway will be used this summer to provide two travel lanes for northbound motorists heading to Somers Point. In the fall, the lift bridge will be demolished, clearing the way for crews to build another two-lane bridge alongside the new bridge that is being put into service Friday.
“We promised four travel lanes by Memorial Day because we understand that efficient access to shore destinations is essential to a successful and enjoyable summer season,” said New Jersey Department of Transportation Commissioner James Simpson. “We are pleased to announce that we are delivering the needed travel capacity ahead of schedule.”
In Ocean City, work continues on a section of 9th Street from Bay to West avenues. One 9th Street northbound lane currently is in use, with the second lane expected to be opened by Memorial Day. When reconstruction of the rightmost 9th Street northbound lane is completed in June, 9th Street will provide two travel lanes in each direction with an additional center left-turn lane shared by traffic in both directions.
Construction on the Route 52 Causeway Replacement project began in October, 2006, with a $145 million contract to replace the middle 1.2 miles of the 76-year-old causeway from Elbow Island to Garret’s Island. Work was completed in the summer of 2009.
The $251 million contract to complete the causeway and replace two lift bridges began in September, 2009. The lift bridges, one each at the Somers Point and Ocean City ends of the causeway, cause traffic to back up when they are raised to allow marine traffic to pass. They are being replaced with fixed bridges that will offer 55 feet of clearance for boats in accordance with Coast Guard regulations.
Under a recently restructured construction contract, completion of the causeway fixed bridges will be reached by Memorial Day, 2012 instead of October, 2012. The time savings primarily will be generated by shifting work this summer to a less constrained work environment in the Somers Point construction zone near the existing Ship Channel lift bridge. Work will not reduce normal traffic capacity in Somers Point.
Work on the visitors center, fishing piers and other amenities will be completed by the end of 2012.
The causeway handles up 40,000 motorists trips across the causeway during peak travel days during the summer season. Real time travel and construction information is available online at www.511nj.org