RUMSON: OCEANIC MAKEOVER BEGINS ANEW

Todd Thompson, seated at center, discussing bridge options with other attendees at the Rumson session. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

What should be done about the crumbling Oceanic Bridge between Rumson and Middletown?

Area residents were offered dozens of options Tuesday as Monmouth County officials hit the reset button on an earlier process derailed by a change in federal regulations.

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OCEANIC BRIDGE: CONCEPT PLANS ON DISPLAY

The Oceanic Bridge between Rumson and Middletown is in “critical” condition, according to the Monmouth County Engineer’s office, and officials plan to unveil “conceptual alternatives” for its replacement or repair at meetings slated in each town today.

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WHAT’S FOR LUNCH? HAPPY HOUR RIBS

111516saltcreek2A plate of baby back ribs from Salt Creek Grille’s happy hour menu.  (Photo by Susan Ericson. Click to enlarge)

By SUSAN ERICSON

WFL what's for lunch?Timing is everything, especially when it comes to grabbing a good meal. Sometimes, the afternoon just gets away from us and before we know it, lunch is an unfulfilled yearning. What to do?

Salt Creek Grille, the craftsman-style restaurant at the foot of the Oceanic Bridge in Rumson, shows a 5 p.m. opening on its website. But happy hour is served from 4 p.m. to 6:30, and it’s a terrific bargain.
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ON THE GREEN: SUN SETS ON SUMMER

sunset-092116-1The final sunset of summer 2016, as seen on the Navesink River from the Oceanic Bridge linking Rumson and Middletown Wednesday evening. Autumn arrives Thursday at 10:21 a.m.

The new season arrives with plenty of sunshine and a peak temperature in the high 70s, according to the Weather Underground(Photo by Trish Russoniello. Click to enlarge.)

WHAT’S FOR LUNCH? BURGERS, FRIES & A VIEW

081216barnacles5Attentive diners can keep a watchful eye on the burgers as they’re grilled at the end of the bar. (Photos by Susan Ericson. Click to enlarge)

By SUSAN ERICSON

WFL what's for lunch?In the shadow of Rumson’s 75-year-old Navesink-River-spanning Oceanic Bridge, Barnacle Bill’s is packed on a Friday afternoon.

“You know it used to be on the pier?” an octogenarian customer who’s been coming to the Rumson perennial asks PieHole.

We do, and locals know also that the waterfront restaurant is the place to go when you’re craving a burger — and that it’s open for lunch from Friday through Sunday only.

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OCEANIC BRIDGE SAILS TO COMPLETION

After a seven-month shutdown, the Oceanic Bridge linking Rumson and Middletown was to open for vehicle traffic sometime around noon Friday, having been opened for pedestrians and bikers at mid-morning.

Fair Haven resident Ben Hamilton, right, noting that “there are more dignitaries here than audience,” said he knows business owners who have been “suffering in silence” over the duration of the closure and will be glad to have it back in service. (Photos by Stacie Fanelli. Click to enlarge)

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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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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HOOFING IT ACROSS THE OCEANIC

wagon-2wagon-1While boating on the Navesink River Sunday, Mike McMahon of Little Silver spotted a caravan of six or eight coaches, each drawn by a team of four horses and carrying passengers done up in historical finery, thundering across the Oceanic Bridge from Middletown to Rumson Sunday. McMahon says panels were laid over the open steel grating of the drawbridge section to enable the horses to cross.

Anyone know what this was all about? (Photos by Michael McMahon. Click to enlarge)

OCEANIC BRIDGE USERS WANT LOW OPTION

oceanic-bridge-091911The bridge, built in 1939, is in need of replacement, Monmouth County officials say. (Click to enlarge)

By MOLLY MULSHINE

A decision on they type of bridge that will replace the aging Oceanic Bridge between Middletown and Rumson may still be two years away, but area residents are emphatic: they don’t want to see the historic drawbridge replaced with a structure three times its size.

Residents of the two towns packed Rumson’s borough hall Monday night to voice their opinions about the issue Monday night.

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RUMSON, IN A FLASH AND RUMBLE

Shots of Rumson’s 2011 edition of the Independence Day Fireworks, as seen from Victory Park, the Oceanic Bridge and surrounding areas.

As is the custom, the show, by Garden State Fireworks, was synched up with, and identical to (except in the size of the shells) the show upriver, between Red Bank and Middletown.

Photos by Dustin Racioppi. To enlarge the photo display, start it, then click the embiggen symbol in the lower right corner. To return to redbankgreen, hit the escape key.

And be sure to check out all our photo albums at Flickr.

FIREWORKS PREVIEW: RUMSON

rumson-fireworks-signRumson’s fireworks will take place same time as Red Bank’s on July 3. (Photo by Dustin Racioppi; click to enlarge)

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

While hundreds of thousands rub elbows to get a view of the Independence Day fireworks in Red Bank Sunday, just a few miles east, there’ll be a more subdued, but pyrotechnically identical, affair going on in Rumson.

For the fourth straight year, the borough will host Rumson’s Fireworks on the Navesink, a duplication of Red Bank’s Kaboom! Fireworks on the Navesink that draws between 12,000 and 14,000 visitors along the eastern banks of the Navesink River.

The borough has put out information to all businesses and residents in advance of the show, warning of parking and traffic expectations, and where to catch the action.

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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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THE WEEK IN REARVIEW: MAY 15-20, 2011

chopper1A helicopter search Thursday was part of an investigation into the whereabouts of missing Red Bank woman. (Photo by Dustin Racioppi; click to enlarge)

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

Busy last week prepping for the rapture?

Whatever you missed is all here, below, waiting for you.

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OCEANIC BRIDGE CLOSED AFTER POWER LOSS

oceanic-stuckMonmouth County and power company employees worked through the late afternoon to try to restore power to the Oceanic Bridge. (Photo by Dustin Racioppi; click to enlarge)

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

The Oceanic Bridge, which connects Rumson and Middletown over the Navesink River, lost power Tuesday afternoon and is closed to traffic until further notice, the Monmouth County Engineering Office said.

The bridge, which has been under a weight restriction since late 2009, lost power while in the upright position at about 3 p.m., a release from the county said.

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RIVER WATCH: NO TWO DAYS ARE THE SAME

Several times a week enroute to and from her day job in Eatontown, artist Gerda Liebmann would stop at the northern end of the Oceanic Bridge in Middletown to take photos of the Navesink River.

Time and again over the course of the year, she positioned her camera in pretty much the exact same way and snapped a few frames looking east toward Sea Bright.

“I always said, ‘this is so beautiful,’ until one day I said, ‘I must stop and take pictures,'” Liebmann tells redbankgreen.

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RUMSON GETS ITS FIREPOWER BACK

Rumson_fireworks3The Rumson fireworks, as seen from Victory Park in 2007. (Click to enlarge)

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

For the first time in its short life, Rumson’s annual fireworks display came close a to not happening along the affluent  banks of the Navesink River next month.

Donations for the Independence Day show, which are synced with Red Bank’s ginormous Kaboom! display, were about $30,000 short of the approximate $100,000 mark needed to cover the cost late last month.

That’s something that the borough, which boasts residents who call $1 million spare change, simply had no problem with in the last three years in putting on the pyro show, Mayor John Ekdahl said. But this year, the shortfall appeared to spell doom for the event, held near the Oceanic Bridge.

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A BIT MORE SNOW EXPECTED TODAY

oceanic-bridge-snow1The Oceanic Bridge, as seen from the Locust side during Tuesday’s snowfall. Flurries are in today’s forecast. (Click to enlarge)

It’s getting to be like the houseguest who won’t leave. Then again, you might simply call it ‘winter.’

Here’s the weatherforecast from the National Weather Service:

Today: Scattered flurries after noon. Partly cloudy, with a high near 35. West wind between 10 and 13 mph.

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FORMER FIRE CHIEF PLEADS GUILTY TO DWI

oceanic-rescueEmergency workers hustle Shaun Foley to an ambulance moments after rescuing him from the Navesink River on November 22.

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

Fair Haven’s former fire chief pleaded guilty to drunken driving Monday, putting an end to legal troubles caused by a November accident that quickly turned into a search-and-rescue effort when he fled the scene and jumped off the Oceanic Bridge.

Shaun Foley, 27, entered the plea in Rumson Municipal Court before Long Branch Municipal Judge George Cieri. Three other charges — reckless driving, failure to report and leaving the scene of an accident — were thrown out as part of the plea deal. Foley, who was also a Rumson Police dispatcher and part-time police officer, was ordered to pay about $675 in fines, undergo a state-mandated evaluation and lost his license for seven months.

“I just want to apologize to everybody,” he said in court. “I embarrassed myself, definitely, but both organizations and my family.”

He added that he was thankful that even though his crash caused a second accident on River Road, nobody was injured as a result of what he said was “just a pile of bad decisions.”

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FOLEY TO FACE DWI CHARGES MONDAY

shaun-foley2-010108

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

Former Fair Haven Fire Chief Shaun Foley is scheduled to appear in Rumson Municipal court late Monday afternoon to answer charges arising from a November 22 car crash that led to his being fished out of the Navesink River a mile away.

The 27-year-old Fair Haven resident and former Rumson police dispatcher faces charges of DWI, leaving the scene of an accident, reckless driving and failure to report. Following the November incident, Foley, through his lawyer, Mitchell Ansell, pleaded not guilty to the charges.
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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.”

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RUMSON BEGINS READYING FOR ITS REGATTA

victorypark

A view of the Navesink River from Victory Park in Rumson, where many spectators will watch the 2010 Dad Vail Regatta. County officials have OK’d viewing from Oceanic Bridge. (Photo by Dustin Racioppi)

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

Down in Philly, they’re crying a river and pointing fingers over the loss of the Dad Vail Regatta to sleepy little Rumson, New Jersey.

But in Rumson, which snagged the regatta last month from its Schuylkill River home of 56 years, officials are scrambling to organize a weekend-long sporting event that could bring 15,000 people to a town without a single hotel room and no structured seating along its riverfront.

They’re also taking steps to capture as much as possible of the of the millions of dollars in tourism-related spending the event throws off.

They can’t do it without outside help.

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