Limited lane closures can be expected in the weeks ahead 

MIDDLETOWN, NJ – The westerly portion of Navesink River Road that was washed out by the March rains was reopened to vehicular traffic today. While some work still needs to be completed on the project, the road will remain open during that final phase of the work.

“After a number of disappointing delays beyond the county’s control, I am pleased to report  that the road is open,” said Freeholder John P. Curley, liaison to the county’s Department of Public Works and Engineering, which is performing the work in-house. “Our concern was to reopen the road to vehicular traffic as soon as possible and to ensure Navesink River Road is open in time for the big fireworks display this weekend in Red Bank. We have achieved that goal.”

Heavy rains in March had caused a culvert running under Navesink River Road to collapse, forcing the closure of the road between Route 35 and Hubbard Avenue.

The county’s engineering, bridge and highway crews are performing the work in-house, alleviating the expense and the time it would have taken to go out for public bidding to hire a private contractor and engineering consultant. Despite the delays, the county project will be completed more expeditiously and with a substantial cost savings.

Navesink River Road adjacent to Poricy Brook Pond serves as an earthen dam with two pipes running underneath. During the March storms, as the height of the pond rose, it put pressure and velocity on the water passing underneath the road, undermining the supporting soil and unsettling the road. Water drains from Poricy Brook Pond to Swimming River farther south.

The damaged pipes were 50 years old and constructed of corrugated steel pipes 60 inches in diameter. They were side by side under the road. Those pipes were replaced with concrete pipes and improved fortification which will be stronger and is expected to last longer.

The project took longer than expected due mainly to problems with the utilities and water lines. Two water main breaks and an unexpected change in the scope of the work by the state Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) led to the delays.

The county is awaiting final approval of plans for a gabion wall to be built on the downstream side of the spillway. The wall will hold soil back at the point where the pipes penetrate the earthen dam. Even without it, the road is stable for normal road conditions. That approval is expected soon.

Public Works and Engineering Director John W. Tobia said the unfinished work will have minimal impact on traffic except for limited lane closures to complete the remaining construction phase.

“I know the closure caused minor inconveniences for many people who live in that area and I want to thank them for their patience during the construction,” Curley said.

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Allan Dean

Allan Dean is editor, publisher, and founder of the Atlantic Highlands Herald. Published since 1999 and selected in 2000 by the Borough of Atlantic Highlands as one of their official newspapers, making...