bridgebarge2_irCounty workers take soil samples from the bed of the Navesink River at Hubbards Bridge last week.

It looks like a cross between Huck Finn’s raft and an oil prospector’s rig.

But a vessel seen off Hubbards Bridge between Red Bank and Middletown last week was there to probe the bottom of the Navesink River for the best locations for the foundations of a replacement for the temporary structure.

Rb_sideAssistant Monmouth County Engineer Pete Imperiale tells redbankgreen the work is part of the design process that’s now underway.

“This is the very early first phase,” he says. “We’re just gathering data about where we’ll be building foundations.”

The start of construction on the West Front Street bridge is “at least two years away,” Imperiale says.

Officials plan to keep the existing, temporary structure open to traffic through 75 percent of the construction.

Above is a concept drawing of what the new bridge will look like; click to enlarge.