By JOHN T. WARD
The narrowing of twin Newman Springs Road (Route 520) bridges over the Swimming River got its first test at rush hour Tuesday morning with a long line of vehicles heading eastbound from Lincroft into Red Bank. A project to replace the decks of the two bridges is expected to take six months, with traffic reduced to one lane in each direction for the duration, according to Monmouth County officials. (Click to enlarge)
Monmouth County workers on the Oceanic Bridge this morning. Further inspections on the bridge are expected to start later this week. (Photo by Dustin Racioppi)
By DUSTIN RACIOPPI
Monmouth County officials have extended the “conservative” three-ton weight limit on the Oceanic Bridge until at least the beginning of next year, they said Monday morning in a meeting with public officials from Rumson and Middletown, which the Oceanic links.
The self-imposed load limit, which was reduced from 10-tons to three last month, expired Sunday. But county Engineer Joe Ettore said the three-ton limit will stay in effect until Jan. 15 while a state-of-the-art stress testing is conducted.
The limit effectively bans anything larger than a passenger vehicle, a low threshold Ettore said was set to err on the side of caution. Though there’s no guarantee, the real-time results of the inspections and tests throughout the next six weeks could reveal that it’s safe to increase the limit to allow emergency vehicles and school buses on the bridge, he added.
On his second try, former Red Bank councilman John Curley won a seat on the Monmouth County Board of Chosen Freeholders, tipping the board back to Republican control.
His win was part of a GOP wave that included a win for gubernatorial aspirant Chris Christie and and for incumbent 12th-District Assembly members Declan O’Scanlon of Little Silver and Caroline Casagrande of Colts Neck.