Project is on schedule so bridge can reopen for Memorial Day Weekend 

RUMSON, NJ  - The closed Oceanic Bridge between Rumson and Middletown is an inconvenience for local businesses and residents, but the repairs are on schedule and work is being done on the 100-foot, center bascule span that opens and closes for boat and vehicular traffic.

“The work requires that the bridge to be closed, and we are working diligently so that it will reopen by Memorial Day Weekend 2012, ” Freeholder Deputy Director John P. Curley said. “In the meantime, all vehicle traffic is being diverted east or west to cross the Navesink River. People should also remember that the stores, restaurants and offices on both sides of the river are all open for business.”

The rehabilitation work on the double-leaf bascule span includes the removal of the existing grid deck and construction of a new grid deck. The work also will include the rehabilitation or removal and replacement of stringers, floor beams, supporting steelwork and a catwalk. Also, work to strengthen structural steel and to repair mechanical and electrical systems will be done along with the cleaning and painting of the existing bascule span steel.

The nature of the work requires that the center, movable sections of the bridge be removed and resurfaced. In addition, work to the machinery, motor brakes and bascule span lock mechanism must be done. As parts are taken out of service, they are repaired, reinstalled and tested in phases. Work on different elements and sections are being done simultaneously to limit the length of time the bridge is closed to the traveling public.

During the first month of the detour, the contractor mobilized operations to the bridge and began the installation of a temporary platform and swing staging to facilitate work on the bascule span’s north and south leaves. Painting and repair to steel components of the bascule span girders, flanges and floor beams began as well.

Notably, more than 7,500 pounds of rust, equivalent to the weight of a large sport utility vehicle, was removed from the north leaf of the bascule span.

Mechanical work included de-energizing the north side machinery, dismantling and removing motor brakes, couplings and an auxiliary reducer. These parts are being repaired off-site.

“All work is proceeding on schedule,” Curley said.

The county-owned Oceanic Bridge connects Bingham Avenue (CR-8) in Rumson to Locust Point Road (CR-8B) in Middletown; both are county roads. The Oceanic Bridge is the largest of all 980 county-owned bridges and culverts, which are maintained by the Department of Public Works and Engineering.

In addition to the Oceanic Bridge, there are three other movable drawbridges that are monitored and maintained by the county’s Department of Public Works and Engineering. Curley is the freeholder liaison to the department.

To accommodate marine traffic, one section of the bridge’s double-leaf bascule span is being kept in the upright position.

Iron Bridge Group, Inc. of North Brunswick was awarded a contract for the rehabilitation work in the amount of $3,554,380. The work is being done with oversight by county’s Department of Public Works and Engineering.

Information about the Oceanic Bridge and other county road and bridge projects is available on the Roads and Bridges section of the county Web site at www.visitmonmouth.com. There is also an interview with Freeholder Curley and County Engineer Joseph Ettore available on YouTube that explains the Oceanic Bridge project.

Motorists should use the signed detours and expect travel delays during the project. All motor vehicle traffic on Bingham Avenue between Rumson and Middletown (CR-8) will be detoured.

From Rumson, traffic can either travel west through Fair Haven and Red Bank to Middletown or travel east through Sea Bright and Highlands to Middletown.

Northbound traffic from Rumson on Bingham Avenue (CR-8) is detoured east through Fair Haven and Red Bank on East River Road (CR-10) to East Front Street to Route 35 North to Navesink River Road (CR-12A) in Middletown. Or, northbound traffic can detour from Bingham Avenue south, turn left onto Rumson Road (CR-520) to Sea Bright and turn left onto Ocean Avenue (Route 36 North) to Highlands and take the jug handle for Navesink Avenue in Middletown. Follow Navesink Avenue and turn left onto Locust Avenue and left again onto Locust Point Road (CR-8B).

Southbound traffic from Middletown is detoured west on Navesink River Road (CR-12A) to Route 35 South in Red Bank and follow detours signs to travel west on East Front Street (CR10)/ East River Road through Fair Haven and into Rumson.  Or, southbound traffic can detour from Navesink River Road (CR-12A)/ Locust Point Road (CR-8B) and turn right onto Locust Avenue, turning right onto Navesink Avenue and then bear right onto Route 36 South through Highlands and into Sea Bright. Turn right onto the Rumson-Sea Bright Bridge and follow Rumson Road (CR-520) west to Bingham Avenue. Turn right onto Bingham Avenue (CR-8).