OCEANIC TO KEEP THREE-TON LIMIT

oceanic-bridgeThe Oceanic Bridge will maintain its vehicle weight limit until at least Labor Day. (Photo by Dustin Racioppi)

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

The weight limit for the Oceanic Bridge will remain at three tons for the foreseeable future, county officials announced Tuesday.

The decision to maintain the weight limit came after about six weeks of testing conducted on the bridge, which ended last week. Rumson Mayor John Ekdahl said the limit will stay in effect until at least Labor Day.

Testing “indicated that they can keep the three-ton limit in place and make through the summer,” he said. “That’s going to get them through to the fall when they will close the bridge for some period of time. We’re not sure how long.”

While the bridge was undergoing inspections and testing, minor work to reduce vibration was done, but more serious work must be done to the bascule span, the drawbridge portion.

Ekdahl said these repairs, which¬†would extend the life of the bridge about five to 10 years until a replacement is constructed,¬†were scheduled to be completed at a later date. But in October, an inspection revealed deterioration more severe than initially thought. That’s when the county imposed the three ton limit, down from its normal 10 tons.

A press release issued yesterday by the county said that another option was to shut down the bridge for several weeks to conduct temporary repairs and reopen the bridge with an increased weight limit. But again, more repairs would have to be done in the fall.

Keeping the weight limit will effectively prohibit trucks and buses from crossing the bridge that connects Rumson to Middletown. However, emergency vehicles will be able to cross it. And unlike before, when those vehicles had to find a different route back, they will now be able to re-cross the bridge when returning from a call, Ekdahl said.