Denied funding for replacement of bridge over Pews Creek

MIDDLETOWN, NJ – Monmouth County is awaiting word on an appeal it filed with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) regarding the replacement of the Bray Avenue bridge (MT-2) over Pews Creek in the Port Monmouth section of Middletown.

“Superstorm Sandy affected many of the County’s Bayshore residents and businesses and also negatively impacted this County bridge,” said Freeholder Thomas A. Arnone, liaison to the County’s Department of Public Works and Engineering. “We are seeking federal funding to help defray the expense of rebuilding and replacing the damaged bridge; as it has done to our residents and businesses, this natural disaster placed an enormous burden on the County’s financial resources.”

 

The tidal surge created by Superstorm Sandy overtopped the bridge and advanced the deteriorating condition of the bridge significantly. Inspections of the bridge following the storm, lead to the closing of the bridge.

“Unfortunately, the bridge is another casualty of the storm,” said Arnone. “The bridge has been closed for public safety reasons and the County is working to obtain permits and secure funding for a replacement structure.”

Monmouth County officials met with FEMA officials in June 2013 to discuss details and provide repair and replacement estimates on the Bray Avenue bridge.

“Since then, we were notified that Monmouth County was denied funding for the replacement of this bridge and we have appealed that decision,” said Arnone.

Replacement of the bridge is part of a multi-facetted process that first requires the relocation of utilities, addressing right-of way and environmental issues, meeting local needs and securing funding and permits.

“In the meantime, the County is working to relocate utilities which must be moved in advance of the bridge reconstruction,” County Engineer Joseph Ettore said. “Gas, water, electric and cable facilities from the bridge have either been moved or are scheduled to be moved soon.”

While only the bridge is closed, all traffic between Main Street and Thompson Avenue has been detoured since January 2013. Bray Avenue is open to local vehicular traffic on either side of the closed bridge and pedestrians may still use the bridge.

“Post-Sandy inspections revealed a defect in the substructure of the timber bridge,” Ettore said. “The inspections indicated that the additional damage to this structure was sustained when the bridge was overtopped by the Superstorm Sandy tidal surge.”

“The County understands the inconvenience that this closure has on the motoring public in the area,” Arnone said. “Residents, businesses and the County have been living with this for the past 15 months. We look forward to FEMA’s reconsideration of this funding and helping Monmouth County move forward with this project.”