SEASIDE HEIGHTS – After being closed for its second round of winter construction since October, the Mathis Bridge, which spans the Barnegat Bay between Toms River and Seaside Heights, will reopen this weekend for the 2017 summer season.
During winter construction, all eastbound traffic on Route 37 was shifted onto the Tunney Bridge through one lane of traffic.
Starting on Thursday, NJDOT’s contractor Schiavone Construction Company will begin the process of reopening the Mathis Bridge by removing construction barriers, restriping and reconfiguring traffic signals. Normal, three-lane eastbound travel lanes on the Mathis Bridge and three-lane westbound travel lanes on the Tunney Bridge are expected to be completed by Saturday morning.
Construction on the $74 million federally-funded project to replace the existing bridge deck, make safety improvements to the barrier and railing, and repair and replace mechanical and electrical components that operate the moveable lift span on the 67-year-old Mathis Bridge began in the fall of 2015. The work is being done over three winter construction seasons to avoid working during the busy summer season. When the Mathis Bridge is closed for construction during the winter, two lanes of traffic westbound and one lane eastbound are maintained on the Tunney Bridge, separated by a moveable barrier.
During the second construction season, NJDOT completed a new bridge deck for the entire span and finished a newly rebuilt bascule, or movable span. In addition, new four-bar railings replacing the previous parapets have been completed, new warning gates and lights, a new bridge operator’s control desk and approximately 80 percent of the new electrical components that operate the movable bridge and cameras have been installed. During the final construction season beginning this fall, new bridge approaches and the cast-in-place anchor spans are expected to be completed.
The construction cycle that requires a full closure of the Mathis Bridge will be limited to November 1 to April 30 each year. During each of these construction cycles, summer traffic from approximately May 15 to September 15 will not be affected and all three lanes on each bridge will be open to traffic.
The project is expected to be completed by the summer of 2018.