BRICK – You might have driven on the Route 88 bridge over the Beaver Dam Creek and not even realized it since it appears to be part of the roadway, but the span is classified by the NJ Department of Transportation (NJDOT) as an “urban principal arterial” connecting Brick to Point Pleasant, and has been rated structurally deficient.
According to NJDOT documents obtained by The Brick Times, the last inspection was done in 2018, and at that time the 98-year-old bridge was found to have a sufficiency rating of 47 out of 100. The superstructure was rated as poor, while the substructure and deck were rated as fair.
The bridge is 29 feet long and has two lanes, reduced shoulders and no sidewalks.
According to NJDOT, the new bridge “will resolve the structural deficiencies of the Route 88 Bridge superstructure,” would have an elongated 41’8” span, and would be raised about 1 foot in order to minimize flooding of the bridge.
Plans call for an 11-foot lane and widened 8-foot shoulder in each direction with a sidewalk on each side.
Additional work involves utility relocations, guide rail replacement, landscaping and improvements to the drainage system.
Construction is estimated to start in 2024 and will take about 24 months to complete. The bridge project would take place during two stages, with work being done during the daytime and occasional work during nighttime hours.
During Stage 1, the south side of the new bridge will be constructed while a single lane of the existing bridge would remain open for alternating eastbound and westbound traffic, controlled by a temporary traffic signal.
Once the south side is built, traffic would be moved onto the newly built portion of the bridge when there would still be one lane in each direction while the rest of the bridge is completed.
Signs would be placed at “key decision points” to advise drivers to take an alternate route. Lane reductions during Stage 1 of the project would be restricted to the off-season (non-summer months).
During Stage 2, there will be two lanes of traffic on the new bridge with ongoing construction on the northbound side. Underground utilities will be relocated during this stage.
The approximate cost of the new bridge is $11 million to be paid with state and federal funds.
Most of the proposed work would be accommodated within the existing highway right of way with minimal property acquisitions required. However, a small portion of Beaver Dam Creek Park (3,975 square feet, or 0.09 acres) would be needed for the current bridge design standards to improve public use and safety. Beaver Dam Creek Park is owned by Ocean County.
During the most recent Township Council meeting, the Brick governing body passed a resolution in support of NJDOT’s full bridge replacement project.
“Our concern was the traffic,” said Mayor John G. Ducey after the council meeting. “Originally, they wanted to close a lane of Route 88 for the duration of the project, including summer months. We objected, and the state has agreed that both lanes of travel will be open from June to September.”
Brick Township had to support the resolution in order for the project to proceed. Point Pleasant Borough must pass one as well, he said.