TOMS RIVER – The New Jersey Department of Transportation has stated that the Seaside bridge construction is on schedule and will be complete by Memorial Day, which is May 28.
The Mathis Bridge that spans Barnegat Bay, linking Toms River to Seaside Heights and the rest of the barrier island, was part of a $56.4 million federally-funded project that began in the fall of 2015. Originally, the project was estimated to cost $74 million, but the project wound up costing $56.4 million, said Daniel Triana, public information officer for the State Department of Transportation.
Included in this project are: a new bridge deck for the entire bridge, the moveable part of the bridge will be completely new, an operator’s control desk and electrical components, cameras, warning gates, a parapet with railings with four bars, concrete anchors, and lighting.
The Mathis Bridge is one half of the Mathis-Tunney bridges. Completed in 1950, it is now 68 years old and it was in need of repair.
Work was done in colder months so as not to interfere with tourism. Anything that required closing the bridge took place between Nov. 1 and April 30. All three lanes were kept open from May 15 through Sept. 15.
When the project was being designed, there was one plan to have the Mathis bridge be built higher, so that it wouldn’t have to open for tall ships. Triana said the higher bridge would have been at least double the cost.
The cost of employees manning the bridge was not factored into this cost, he said.