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WEIGH IN ON POSSIBLE BRIDGE REPLACEMENT

Monmouth County officials will hold two public-input sessions on whether to repair or replace the Rumson-Sea Bright bridge.   (Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

A new bridge to replace the Route 520 span between Rumson and Sea Bright is among the options on the table for review and discussion next Monday.

Monmouth County officials plan to hold two public information sessions that day to get input on whether to rehabilitate or replace the bascule span over the Shrewsbury River.

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RUMSON: BEFORE THE NEW BRIDGE, A DIG

rumson dig 070715 2Rumson-sb bridge 012313A crew from Richard Grubb & Associates, under contract to Monmouth County, was out doing archaeological work just east of the Rumson-Sea Bright Bridge Tuesday morning. The property, which will be used in the approach to a replacement bridge across the Shrewsbury River, was once the site of a mansion, built in 1890 by Mrs. John G. Neeser, that was later owned by longtime Mayor and United States Senator and William Warren Barbour. According to county spokeswoman Laura Kirkpatrick, the aim of the monthlong dig is to determine if any artifacts from the late 19th century or prior might be buried there, with a number of five-foot-by-five-foot holes dug and refilled by the end of each day.

Construction of of the new span – seen in white in the concept plan above right  may begin by 2018, Kirkpatrick said.  (Photo above by John T. Ward, at right by Wil Fulton. Click to enlarge)

SEA BRIGHT: HEY, IT’S NOW OAR NEVER

1006 ocean 040515Ilene Winters, below, plans to open her new fitness studio in a former auto repair shop next door to a Dunkin’ Donuts this month. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

ilene winters 040715 2Ilene Winters spent about 20 years on Wall Street, and another decade involved in nonprofit work helping cancer patients and victims of Hurricane Sandy. Now, she says, it’s time to put another passion into play: physical fitness.

This month, Winters expects to open OAR Fitness & Endurance, a training studio, in a former auto repair shop in Sea Bright.

But her leap of faith requires her to tune out some potential downsides. Among them: the Shrewsbury River, just inches away from the building, and what it can do when the weather turns ugly.

“I’m just trying not to think about it,”  she tells redbankgreen. Read More »

SEA BRIGHT: BOONDOCKS MAY DOCK HERE

sb station 012513Kelly McRyan, below, hopes to convert the former auto repair garage above into a takeout seafood restaurant.  (Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

kelly boondocks 042813Red Bank’s Boondocks Fishery may soon have a sibling operation in Sea Bright.

Owner Kelly McRyan is eyeing the former site of Sea Bright Service Station at the foot of the Rumson-Sea Bright Bridge as a second location for her popular riverfront eatery, she tells redbankgreen.

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SEA BRIGHT: FREE BEACH TO GET COSTLY LAV

sb anchorage 1 101313A four-stall restroom with a ramp over the seawall is expected to be completed by Memorial Day, officials say. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

sb anchorage 2 101313To those in the know, it’s Sea Bright’s “free beach,” and free it shall remain for the foreseeable future, town officials say.

But one of the tradeoffs in visiting the Anchorage Beach – reliance on porta-potties for bathroom service – is finally about to end, at a steep cost.

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SEA BRIGHT RELUCTANTLY OKS BRIDGE PLAN

Borough officials said they would prefer that the new bridge be north of the existing span instead of south. (Photo by Wil Fulton. Click to enlarge)

By WIL FULTON

Sea Bright approved a preliminary design for a new Rumson-Sea Bright Bridge over the Shrewsbury River Tuesday night, even though it’s not one some of them would have preferred.

The proposed span, a drawbridge like the existing 62-year-old structure, would follow a path about 30 feet south of the current bridge, resulting in the demolition of a building that’s home to a Dunkin’ Donuts and a vacant filling station on Ocean Avenue.

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SEA BRIGHT: SERVICE STATION WON’T RETURN

Dunkin’ Donuts is back in business, at right, but the adjoining Sea Bright Service Station won’t be coming back to town, its owner says. (Photo by Wil Fulton. Click to enlarge)

By WIL FULTON

Amid optimistic declarations that storm-battered Sea Bright will rise from the wreckage of Hurricane Sandy, one of its more visible businesses has quietly thrown in the towel – or the grease rag, in this case.

Sea Bright Service Station owner Rick Hennessey, who’s been operating in recent weeks out of temporary quarters in Atlantic Highlands, has decided not to return to town, he tells redbankgreen.

“The owner of the building doesn’t really want any gas sales there anymore, which is the first problem,” Hennessey said. “We also have the issues of rebuilding after the storm and this looming bridge construction.” Read More »

RUMSON-SEA BRIGHT SPAN INCHES FORWARD

A concept plan discussed by Monmouth County Engineer Joe Ettore, in Sea Bright below, shows a proposed new alignment for the bridge and approach. The existing bridge, in white, would be torn down. (Photos by Wil Fulton. Click to enlarge)

By WIL FULTON

Sea Bright residents will face yet another extended bridge closure after the one that’s scheduled to begin next week, but there’s no reason to freak out just yet – it’s still at least eight years away.

Representatives of the Monmouth County Engineering Department were in town Wednesday afternoon to host a public information session designed to offer updates and receive feedback on plans to replace the current Rumson-Sea Bright Bridge over the Shrewsbury River.

According to county Engineer Joseph Ettore, the project is still in it’s first stage, what the department refers to as “concept development,” and it will still be roughly 8 to 10 years at least before ground is broken on the new span.

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HARD-HIT SEA BRIGHT FACES BRIDGE OUTAGE

News of the planned closure of the Rumson-Sea Bright Bridge had restaurateur Chris Wood lobbying elected officials for a modification Friday. (Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

Business owners in Hurricane Sandy-walloped Sea Bright were reeling Friday afternoon on word that Monmouth County plans to shut down the Rumson-Sea Bright (Route 520) bridge for up to a month starting as early as January 28.

“It’s cutting off our lifeline as we’re recovering from a massive heart attack,” said Woody’s Ocean Grille owner Chris Wood, who just took delivery of $50,000 worth of liquor and food in preparation for a planned reopening in the desolate downtown next Wednesday.

“We’re just trying to get ourselves back open,” said Frank Bain,  owner of the recently reopened Bain’s Hardware, “and a very large portion of our customer base comes over that bridge.”

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BUY-IN ON NEW SEA BRIGHT BRIDGE ELUSIVE

Below, dozens of local residents turned out in Sea Bright Monday for a midday presentation of options for dealing with the “serious” condition of the Rumson-Sea Bright Bridge. (Click to enlarge)

By STACIE FANELLI

Sixty years old, the Rumson-Sea Bright Bridge over the Shrewsbury River is rapidly corroding, inadequate for today’s traffic loads and behind the times on accident safety. Its electrical system is the same one installed in 1952. It’s not up to snuff in terms of earthquake resistance, either.

In a word, Monmouth County engineering officials say, the bridge’s condition is “serious.”

Whether to spend an estimated $10 million to rehabilitate the bridge or some $50 million to replace it was the core question at a pair of public hearings held Monday in Sea Bright and Rumson. More than a dozen county officials and consultants were present at each to kick off a series of discussions aimed, they said, at “building consensus” on a solution.

But some residents of the two towns voiced skepticism that their concerns – which include the impacts of a new span on property values on the Rumson side and on the business district in Sea Bright – would be given much weight in the process.

“They seem to have it in mind to build a new bridge, and I just don’t want it destroying the neighborhood in the process,” said Tom Calvanico, who lives near the Rumson anchorage.

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SEVEN-MONTH DETOUR STARTS MONDAY

oceanic-bridge-091911The Oceanic Bridge will get a new drawbridge, replacing a 72-year-old segment that’s heavily corroded, officials say. (Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

Work to replace the steel drawbridge portion of the Oceanic Bridge is slated to get underway Monday with detours that are expected to frustrate motorists from Middletown and Rumson for seven months.

Monmouth County officials say they hope to complete the replacement of the two-leaf bascule center of the 2,700-foot-long span – the county’s longest – by Memorial Day next year.

In the interim, however, the bridge will be closed. Off limits. Out of commission.

For some motorists, that will mean miles-long detours to the nearest waterway crossings at the Cooper Bridge  between Middletown and Red Bank; the Rumson-Sea Bright Bridge; and the new Captain Joe Azzolina Bridge between Highlands and Sea Bright.

And for owners of businesses that rely on bridge traffic, it’s expected to hit the cash register.

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CURLEY: OCEANIC DETOUR WILL HIT HARD

oceanic-bridgeThe Oceanic Bridge will be closed for months for repair work this fall. (Photo by Dustin Racioppi; click to enlarge)

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

Long-awaited repairs to the Oceanic Bridge are expected to get started this fall, but the extent of the repairs will cause the bridge, which connects Rumson and Middletown over the Navesink River, to be closed for months, sending a blow to Rumson’s business district.

“It’s going to be devastating to the businesses,” said Monmouth County Freeholder John Curley. “Literally devastating.”

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DOLPHINS HALT BRIDGE DEMO, FOR NOW

Img_1152Cranes and other equipment brought in for the demolition of the Highlands-Sea Bright Bridge will be idle until Monday, in deference to the dolphins.

By SUE MORGAN

Thanks to those hungry bottlenose dolphins in the Shrewsbury River, work on the Highlands-Sea Bright Bridge has come to a halt, at least till next week.

When some Sea Bright residents theorized that the noise from several barges docked near the 35-foot-high drawbridge over the Shrewsbury River might be hampering attempts by the dolphins to swim out to sea, Councilwoman Dina Long called the powers in Trenton.

On reaching a representative of Governor Jon Corzine‘s office Monday, Long asked that the state Department of Transportation temporarily cease work until July 7 to give the dolphins a shot at safe passage out to Sandy Hook Bay and the Atlantic Ocean.

“We asked that the DOT, as a goodwill gesture, back off on any construction until after July 4th,” Long said.

The state agreed, she said, effectively extending the Independence Day holiday for contractors getting ready to demolish the bridge.

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