NJDOT announces traffic shift on
Route 72 bridges as traffic patterns
return to summer configuration
One lane in each direction this weekend
as crews work to prepare for seasonal traffic
This work was delayed and
from last week due to weather
(Trenton) - New Jersey Department of Transportation (NJDOT) officials today announced that some traffic on the Route 72 Bridge will be shifted to the newly constructed bridge this weekend as construction progresses on the Route 72 Manahawkin Bay Bridges project.
Today, Friday, April 22, eastbound traffic on the Route 72 Bridge will be shifted to the newly constructed bridge. Traffic heading westbound will be reduced to one lane on the existing bridge. This work was delayed from last week due to weather and altered to permit uniform openings on the multiple contracts throughout the project.
Next week, NJDOT expects to move all traffic to the new bridge with two lanes running in each direction as crews work to restore traffic patterns to their summer alignment. This shift will permit work to the existing bridge. Summer traffic patterns are expected to be fully restored by mid-May.
Work on the $350 million Route 72/Manahawkin Bay Bridge project was started in 2013 and is expected to continue through 2020. The 3-mile long causeway links Stafford on the mainland with Ship Bottom on Long Beach Island, but is structurally deficient and functionally obsolete after 57 years in existence.
When construction of the new span is completed in 2016, the existing Bay Bridge, which is structurally deficient and functionally obsolete, will be closed to traffic for rehabilitation. Upon completion of the rehabilitation work, it will serve as the bridge for westbound traffic.
A new bridge has been constructed parallel to the existing one over Manahawkin Bay, providing the safety of a redundant route on or off the island in the event that one of the bridges needs to be closed. This design is consistent with Christie Administration objectives to build in strength or redundancy to better withstand future storms. The existing causeway sustained relatively minor damage during Super Storm Sandy, but storm damage is a concern especially because it provides the only way for motor vehicles to enter or exit Long Beach Island.
The new bridge is 2,400 feet long with a vertical clearance of 55 feet over Manahawkin Bay. Ultimately, it will function as the bridge for eastbound traffic once the project is completed. This sequence was designed to preserve the current two travel lanes in each direction during busy summer seasons from mid-May to mid-September during daytime hours and weekends. The contractor is allowed single-lane closures overnight and during the off-season, but one lane will always be maintained in each direction.
Completion of the entire project - with details for all four contracts here - is scheduled for 2020. The precise timing of the work is subject to change due to weather or other factors. Motorists are encouraged to check NJDOT’s traffic information website www.511nj.org for construction updates and real-time travel information and for NJDOT news follow us on Twitter @NJDOT_info.