OCEANIC BRIDGE TO CLOSE FOR REPAIRS

oceanic bridge 052614 3The Oceanic Bridge between Rumson and Middletown will be closed to traffic and pedestrian use from 9 p.m. Tuesday to 5 a.m. Wednesday for “routine maintenance” on the bascule section, Monmouth County officials announced Tuesday morning. The bridge was stuck in the open position for a time over the weekend, we’re told. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

EXPECT DELAYS AT OCEANIC BRIDGE

oceanic bascule 071408Motorists and others using the Oceanic Bridge between Rumson and Middletown may encounter delays as work crews do maintenance on the bascule section, the Monmouth County engineering department announced Wednesday. The work is expected to entail intermittent openings of the bridge for up to 10 minutes at a time between 9:30 a.m. and 3 p.m. Wednesday and Thursday, the agency said. (File photo from 2008 by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

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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ON-TIME BRIDGE REOPENING EXPECTED

One leaf of the two-leaf bascule has remained open to allow for boat traffic to pass beneath the bridge. (Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

For six months, Salt Creek Grille owner Steve Bidgood has watched with guarded optimism the progress of work to replace the 100-foot-long bascule on the Oceanic Bridge over the Navesink River.

Denied since October the benefit of traffic the 72-year-old bridge was built to carry between Middletown and his side, Rumson, Bidgood’s foremost concern has been that the job wrap up, as advertised, by the start of the busy summer season – Memorial Day weekend.

“I’d love to see them do it,” Bidgood told redbankgreen this week, eyeing the elegant bridge framed by the restaurant’s windows. “If they do, I might even buy them dinner.”

It’s looking as though Bidgood will need to reserve a large table.

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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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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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COUNTY: OCEANIC REPAIRS ON SCHEDULE

The Oceanic Bridge as seen from Victory Park in Rumson earlier this month. (Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

Fingers crossed, but so far, the repair job on the Oceanic Bridge over the Navesink River between Middletown and Rumson is going like clockwork, thanks to relatively mild winter weather.

Monmouth County officials said the bridge, closed since October, is on schedule to reopen in time for the start of the summer season Memorial Day weekend.

“They’ve been fortunate with the weather,” said Rumson Mayor John Ekdahl.

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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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