MANCHESTER – A bridge by a busy intersection was replaced recently since it was starting to show its age.
A driver might not even realize they are going over a bridge. It’s on Ridgeway Boulevard, which links Ridgeway Road (otherwise known as Route 571) to a Y-shaped intersection with South Hope Chapel Road, just north of Route 70. The old bridge had been there for almost 65 years.
One of the reasons for rebuilding it was because of a new garage for the Ocean County Transportation Department nearby. As a timber bridge, the county engineer wanted to make sure it was going to be sturdy enough to handle the additional traffic from heavy vehicles.
It had undergone a partial rehabilitation in 1999 but was starting to show signs of wear and tear, officials said.
“The opening of the new bridge on October 8 is the last piece of a combination of projects that have resulted in a completely upgraded corridor for township residents, many of whom live in communities along the route,” said Ocean County Freeholder John P. Kelly, in announcing the opening of the bridge. “The new bridge, new paving and new traffic signals will result in a safer traffic flow along Ridgeway Boulevard, and Routes 571 and 547.”
The replacement is a single-span, and measures 54 feet in length, according to the county. The width of the new structure is 40 feet, 10 feet wider than it had been.
The bridge replacement project also included the installation of new guide rail and some reconstruction of the bridge approaches.
The county appropriated $2.5 million for the project, issuing $2,3750,000 to fund it.
The bridge construction had hit some snags early on due to utility relocation delays, Kelly said. Bad weather also slowed the project down. The original date of completion had been in August.
“Delays in moving utilities and also some environmental constraints resulted in the project taking longer than the construction schedule that was originally created,” said Ocean County Engineer John Ernst. “With all of that behind us, the work is completed and motorists have a road that is now state of the art.”
Other recent improvements in the area had been the traffic signal on Route 547 and the realignment of Ridgeway Boulevard by developer Pulte Homes as a condition of the Ocean County Planning Board approval for the River Pointe Development. This was done to fix a problem when those roads connected, and the big residential development would have exacerbated the project.
The County Road Department resurfaced Ridgeway Boulevard from the railroad crossing to just south of Ridgeway Boulevard Bridge during the month of October 2019.
The reconstruction and resurfacing of Ridgeway Boulevard also included replacing approximately 2,000 linear feet of drainage pipe, installing a new traffic signal at the intersection with County Route 571 (Ridgeway Road) and resurfacing and reconstructing 2,000 linear feet of roadway.