Repair work on bridge deck and below to continue
RUMSON, NJ – The Oceanic Bridge (S-31) over the Navesink River between Rumson and Middletown will reopen to traffic by Saturday morning, June 13.
Working around the clock, in 12-hour shifts, Harms Construction Co. Inc. of Howell has performed repair and restoration work on all four of the bridge’s main bearings that are used to support the bascule and flanking spans on the bridge approaches.
Timing made it possible to open the bridge to traffic both weekends during the bearing repair project that began on Tuesday, May 26. Fortunately, the weather cooperated and the shifting of the repair work from the south to north bascule spans coincided with the weekends.
“We appreciate the patience of the local residents, business owners and visitors while we conducted this necessary repair,” said Arnone. “The Oceanic Bridge is an important connector in the Two River area. We need to keep the bridge open and operational as we plan for its eventual replacement.”
Repair work to the bridge deck will continue for an additional week and require full overnight bridge closures, weather permitting, from 10:30 p.m. to 6:30 a.m., Sunday, June 14 through Friday, June 19.
Arnone noted that the ongoing work to the bridge, after June 19, will not require road closures.
A previous Oceanic Bridge repair project revealed deterioration in two areas not readily or previously accessible. Two of the bridge’s four main bearings required immediate repair work; the two remaining bearings received maintenance work as well.
The Oceanic Bridge was closed to all but marine traffic on weekdays following Memorial Day 2015.
The 2,712-foot drawbridge crosses the Navesink River and serves beach, commercial and residential traffic, as well as pedestrian and bicycle travel. It is also a key route for coastal evacuations and emergency vehicles headed to hospitals or providing mutual aid. The bridge has been classified as structurally deficient.
Built in 1939, the Oceanic Bridge has deteriorated due to decades of exposure to saltwater and from accommodating heavier vehicles and traffic volumes than for which it was designed.
In 2012, Monmouth County completed extensive work to rehabilitate the bridge’s 100-foot, center bascule span, allowing motorists, bicyclists and pedestrians to continue use of the bridge.
Monmouth County received notification from the North Jersey Transportation Planning Authority (NJTPA) Board of Trustees in January that $600,000 in federal funding was available to perform a Concept Development Study for the replacement or rehabilitation of the Oceanic Bridge.
“As the years have gone on, maintaining this bridge has become more costly and difficult,” said. Arnone, a NJTPA Board member. “This grant will allow us to look to the future and take steps toward building a better bridge, one that will stand up to the extreme coastal storms we’ll face and serve our modern travel needs.”
Monmouth County plans to replace the Oceanic Bridge in the next ten years.