As promised, span opens before Memorial Day Weekend
FREEHOLD, NJ – On schedule and one week prior to Memorial Day Weekend, the new West Front Street Bridge (S-17) spanning the Swimming River between Middletown and Red Bank opened at 10:45 a.m. today.
“Local residents, commuters and travelers have been looking forward to this day since January 5,” said Freeholder Thomas A. Arnone, liaison to the county’s Department of Public Works and Engineering. “The 19-week closure was difficult for motorists, but it was necessary. Today we are pleased to provide residents and commuters with a new bridge that will safely serve their needs for a very long time.”
The opening follows the construction of a new 488-foot long steel girder bridge to the north of the existing West Front Street Bridge.
The new bridge is 44-feet wide with two 12-foot travel lanes and four-foot shoulders and six-foot sidewalks in both directions. The new bridge provides approximately nine feet of vertical clearance above mean high water elevation; there will be approximately 72 feet of horizontal clearance within the navigable channel of the Swimming River.
“The bridge is open to motor vehicle and pedestrian traffic, but the construction work will continue,” Freeholder Director Gary J. Rich. “The old, temporary bridge must be removed and finishing work must be completed to the bridge approaches.”
In the area of the Bridge, construction work will be ongoing through April 2016. In addition to the bridge removal, concrete sidewalks will be completed that will provide an ADA accessible route from Hubbard Avenue in Middletown to Rector Place/Shrewsbury Avenue in Red Bank. The contractor will continue working on the parapets and sidewalk for the bridge, which include the installation of the new ornamental lighting for the Bridge.
“The architectural enhancements already in place include a decorative recessed brick panel parapet with a decorative ball and cap railing,” said Freeholder Serena DiMaso. “The look complements the nearby Rt. 35 Bridge and creates a wonderful gateway to both communities.”
The bridge project also includes the removal of overhead wires to under the bridge deck, minor roadway widening on the bridge approaches, improved storm water drainage, highway lighting and new guide rail treatments.
The opening was attended by state, county and local officials, as well as local residents. Elected officials from Middletown and Red Bank, as well as, the five County Freeholders were the first to walk or drive across the new bridge.
The Monmouth County Board of Chosen Freeholders thanked Senator Joe Kyrillos Jr. for helping to secure the funding for the replacement bridge through the state Transportation Trust Fund.
“It has been my pleasure to assist Monmouth County in securing the funding for this important connection between two towns,” Kyrillos said. “For a lot of people, the West Front Street Bridge makes a big difference in their lives; working cooperatively at all levels of government ensures that are residents have safe roads, bridges and communities.”
The project is being funded by the Federal Highway Administration and NJDOT’s Transportation Trust Fund. The North Jersey Transportation Planning Authority is assisting with the project as well.
“Our intention was to make sure the new bridge was open for the unofficial start of summer,” Freeholder John P. Curley said. “We are very aware of the needs and wishes of the local residents. We made good on the promise to have this bridge open before Memorial Day.”
In January, the Contractor implemented a planned detour and closed the existing the bridge allowing the Contractor to tie the new bridge into the existing roadway.
“The construction schedule was set to create limited disruption to the travelling public,” Freeholder Lillian G. Burry said. “The project began in August 2013 and required a less than five month closure and detour.”
Arnone commended John W. Tobia, director of the county Department of Public Works and Engineering and County Engineer Joseph M. Ettore and for their work overseeing this project. He also praised members of the County staff for their efforts in making certain that the bridge opening met the deadline.
The contractor for this project is Agate Construction, Inc. of Ocean View, NJ. Inspection and contract administration were performed by Maser Consulting of Red Bank. The project had a total contract amount of $21.9 million.
Hubbard’s Bridge, as it is known locally, was originally constructed in 1921 as a six span, simply supported, through girder, floor beam, stringer structure 339 feet, 4 inches long. The deck was a steel open grid deck. Each span was 55-feet long between bearings. The original substructure consisted of pile supported concrete abutments and piers and wing walls.
Due to the bridge’s age, severe corrosion required that the bridge’s superstructure be replaced. This was completed in 2004. A temporary Acrow® panel truss superstructure was erected and substructures were adapted to carry the trusses. This temporary installation was made to keep the bridge crossing open to traffic while a permanent replacement structure could be designed.
Additional information about the West Front Street Bridge is available on the county Web site at www.visitmonmouth.com.