SEA BRIGHT, M’TOWN ‘STUCK’ ALL OVER

sb-blizzard1Sea Bright residents try to shovel out the side streets of Ocean Avenue Monday afternoon. (Photo by Dustin Racioppi; click to enlarge)

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

Sea Bright and Middletown officials expect cleanup efforts from the overnight blizzard to take all day and well into Monday evening.

In both towns, cars are stranded all over.

“It’s like a war zone out there,” Sea Bright Police Chief John Sorrentino told redbankgreen.

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HIGHLANDS-SEA BRIGHT BRIDGE OPENS EARLY

36-bridfgeWork on the travel lanes on the Rt. 36 bridge is complete. (Photo by Dustin Racioppi; click to enlarge)

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

The state Department of Transportation is done with the heavy-duty work on the Route 36 Highlands Bridge, and announced Friday that all four lanes were open to traffic.

If you drove over the bridge this weekend, though, you noticed only two were open.

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THE BRIDGE TO SUMMER SUCCESS?

highlands-bridge1The state DOT has plans to ease traffic jams at the Sea Bright-Highlands bridge construction site this summer. (Photo by Dustin Racioppi; click to enlarge)

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

In 34 years doing business on Ocean Avenue in Sea Bright, Steve Garelli says he’s learned one thing when it comes to preparing for the summer rush, which is unofficially upon us this Memorial Day weekend.

“It’s all about the weather,” said Garelli, owner of Steve’s Breakfast & Lunch.

But in recent summers, Garelli, like many other business owners in the seaside hamlet, has learned one more thing: cranes and dump trucks can wipe out abundant sunshine rather quickly.

The construction of the Route 36 Highlands bridge, which connects Highlands to the Sea Bright/Sandy Hook peninsula and funnels traffic into the Gateway National Recreation Area, plagued local businesses last summer and wreaked havoc on motorists.

Now that the 65-foot high bridge is near completion — two lanes are operational, and two more are being added — local merchants are hopeful, but skeptical, that traffic will flow better, both on the road and in their stores this summer.

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SEA BRIGHT NIXES HONKIN’ BIG BRIDGE SIGNS

rt-36-bridgeHighlands and Sea Bright officials don’t favor DOT plans to install signs that hang over the Route 36 bridge, shown here in November. (Photo by Dustin Racioppi)

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

It wasn’t that long ago that advocates of keeping that troublesome bridge that once linked Sea Bright to Highlands pooh-poohed the idea of constructing a new, larger once because it didn’t fit in with the landscape of the area.

Now, that the new Route 36 bridge is kind of here — the Sea Bright-to-Highlands section is complete, with the rest targeted to be done in 2011 — officials are echoing that old cry, with a plea to halt signs the state Department of Transportation intends to install, saying that they’re more useful for the Garden State Parkway or New Jersey Turnpike.

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