MANCHESTER – The Ridgeway Boulevard Bridge, from a commuter’s perspective, hardly looks like a bridge. Many people driving over it probably don’t realize that it spans a branch of the Toms River, or that it is almost 65 years old.
The Ridgeway Boulevard Bridge is scheduled to be replaced, according to the Ocean County Board of Chosen Freeholders. Bids are expected to be received by the end of July.
The bridge is 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 county will be building a new garage for its transportation department on that road. County engineer John Ernst said previously that since it’s a timber bridge, the county wanted to make sure it was going to be sturdy enough to handle the additional traffic from heavy vehicles.
“This bridge underwent a partial rehabilitation in 1999 but it has been showing signs of distress and section loss to the existing timber load bearing piles and concrete stub abutments,” said Ocean County Freeholder Deputy Director John P. Kelly, who serves as Director of Law and Public Safety. “We will be replacing the span with a new structure that is safer, stronger and meets all of today’s standards.”
The new bridge will be 54-feet long, and 40 feet wide. This would be 10 feet wider than it currently is, according to a press release from the county. The project also includes the installation of new guide rail and some reconstruction of the bridge approaches.
Construction is expected to take eight months, and traffic will be detoured during that time. The start date is not yet set, but bids by prospective construction companies are expected to be received by the end of July.
“Ocean County maintains more than 250 bridges and culverts,” said Ocean County Freeholder Director Virginia E. Haines, who serves as co-chair with Freeholder Kelly of the Ocean County Engineering Department. “Maintaining our infrastructure so that our motorists and pedestrians have safe roads and bridges is a priority of this board.”
“The new bridge is designed to handle additional traffic and will be built to meet our future needs,” Kelly said.