By JOHN T. WARD
A compromise to a widely criticized plan to shut down the Rumson-Sea Bright Bridge for three weeks starting
this weekend January 28 was reached Tuesday, town officials said.
Under the compromise, repair work on the bridge will be halted on Friday afternoons and resume on Monday mornings, with the Shrewsbury River span remaining open to traffic throughout the weekends.
“It’s a win-win-win,” said an ecstatic Chris Wood, whose restaurant, Woody’s Ocean Grille, is scheduled to reopen for business Wednesday for the first time since Hurricane Sandy slammed into the shore, wiping out every business in town.
Weekend traffic will benefit the few businesses that have reopened in town Ama Ristorantae, Bain’s Hardware, Harry’s Lobster House and Woody’s but will also help residents, many of whom can only come into town on weekends to work on their storm-damaged homes, Wood told redbankgreen at his restaurant, where a pre-opening staff party was underway Tuesday night.
Woody’s is expected to open for lunch Wednesday and stick to a regular weekday schedule, though possibly with reduced staff until demand returns, he said.
“The work is still going to begin January 28,” Mayor Dina Long said in an impromptu announcement after a special meeting of the borough council Tuesday night, as residents were putting on their coats to leave. “The quasi good news is that they found a compromise,” under which Monmouth County contractors will stop work and reopen the bridge at 3 p.m. each Friday until the project is completed, she said.
The new plan means a job that had been expected to take three to four weeks to complete may take up to five, she said.
Wood credited county Freeholder Tom Arnone and state Assemblyman Declan O’Scanlon, among others, for intervening on the town’s behalf.
Wood said last week that he’d just taken delivery on $50,000 worth of booze and perishables when he got word of the impending closure.