County bridge crews to begin emergency repair work on Monday

FREEHOLD, NJ – Heavy rains caused a culvert running under Navesink Rover Road to collapse late Wednesday, forcing the closure of the road between Route 35 and Hubbard Avenue. The road is expected to remain closed to vehicular traffic for three to four weeks until repairs are made.

“Navesink River Road adjacent to Poricy Brook Pond is essentially an earthen dam with two pipes running underneath,” explained Freeholder John P. Curley, liaison to the county’s Department of Public Works and Engineering. “As the height of the pond rose, it put added pressure and velocity on the water passing underneath the road. The supporting soil was undermined and the road to settled.”

The 50-year-old corrugated steel pipes are 60 inches in diameter and lie side by side under the road. Water drains from Poricy Brook Pond to Swimming River farther south.

County bridge and road crews were at the site early this morning along with surveyors and a representative from the state Department of Environmental Protection (DEP), which issued emergency permit authorization to allow the county to immediately replace the old corrugated steel pipes with stronger, concrete pipes. In-house engineers were drawing up plans so work can begin on Monday.

Navesink River Road will remain closed to vehicular traffic           until the repairs are completed. However, the county will maintain pedestrian access through the site at all times due to the proximity of the Nut Swamp Elementary School.

To speed up the repair timetable, the county’s own bridge and road crews will perform the work entirely in-house, alleviating the time it would normally take to go out to bid. Doing so will save time and money, according to County Engineer Joseph Ettore, who was at the site this morning with Freeholder Curley and Public Work and Engineering Director John W. Tobia.

Motorists traveling from the north on Navesink River Road will detour onto Route 35 south,  traverse Cooper’s Bridge into Red Bank and over the West Front Street bridge to Hubbard Avenue and then back to Navesink River Road. Motorists traveling from the south will have to take Nut Swamp Road to Middletown-Lincroft Road to Oak Hill Road to Route 35.

“The county understands the inconvenience that this reconstruction will have on the motoring public and the nearby local residents,” Ettore said. “To reduce the closure period, the design and all reconstruction work will be performed by in-house crews.”

The collapse is being blamed on record-setting rainfall in March, which fell onto ground that was already saturated from melting snow and ice.

“The combination of melting snow and above-average rainfall have wreaked havoc with roads, bridges and shorelines throughout the state,” Curley said. “Monmouth County’s Department of Public Works and Engineering has crews out on a daily basis  to keep our transportation system in the best condition we can under these conditions.

“I commend them for their quick action during this emergency,” he added.