BERKELEY – The Ocean County Freeholders have committed to replacing Zebb’s Bridge, which begs the question: Where is Zebb’s Bridge?
It is actually one of several bridges throughout the county that are so small, motorists probably drive over them without realizing they are bridges. This particular one is on Route 530 near the Robert J. Miller Airpark. The waterway it spans is so narrow that drivers most likely don’t even see it. The only evidence that it is a bridge is that this section of the roadway has a guardrail.
At their April 5 meeting, the Freeholders passed a resolution adopting a grant application for the replacement of the bridge.
The actual replacement will not begin until 2018, but some work could not wait. In mid-April, a county work crew was repairing the timber wall. Even though it will be replaced, the bridge needs to continue to be maintained in order for it to be safe until its replacement, county sources said.
“This is a heavily traveled road and we need to move forward with plans to replace this bridge due to its aging timber substructure,” Freeholder John Kelly said in a press release.
The county’s first steps in the replacement are to apply for state funding and hire a design consultant. Then, there is a permit process to go through. The project is part of a grant application and agreement with the New Jersey Department of Transportation requesting allocation for bridge replacement projects to help with the estimated $1 million cost.
The bridge’s 15-foot span will be replaced. It’s a 30-foot wide roadway with no sidewalks. After the work is done, there will be a total width of 40 feet, including two 12-foot-wide lanes and two 8-foot-wide shoulders.
The current bridge has a lot of timber elements, which are now breaking down with age. The replacement will have more sturdy ingredients, such as concrete and steel.
The work will also include the reconstruction of immediate sections of the roadway leading to the bridge and upgrade of the guide rail.
A temporary traffic signal system will be installed to facilitate staged construction so that people can still drive through the area.