Bridge Being Replaced For Walkers To School

This is the view from the bridge in spring. (Photo by Chris Lundy)

TOMS RIVER – Local officials are replacing an old bridge that kids use to walk to Cedar Grove Elementary School.

The bridge goes over Long Swamp Creek, which eventually reaches the Toms River. It connects Brookside Drive (formerly known as Long Swamp Road) with McCormick Drive. Decades ago, this bridge was on a small spot of open space, where kids would fish for sunnies while avoiding the occasional snapping turtle. Portions of this land were apparently sold to the neighboring properties, creating an unusual hallway made of fences leading to the bridge.

School district business administrator William Doering said the district performed their annual inspection, and alerted the township to some concerns they had. The township did their own inspection and then shut it down. It’s on a township easement, but since it’s used by school kids, both the town and the school will have a hand in its replacement.

Doering said that when discussing the bridge with township officials, they refer to it as the Dave Marion Bridge. It is at the base of a hill that Dave Marion Road is on.

The bridge is almost hidden by neighbors’ fences. (Photo by Chris Lundy)

Township business administrator Don Guardian said they received an estimate from Contech Engineered Solutions for a pre-fabricated, 50-foot bridge for $65,000. It would have an upgrade in the quality of the materials. With labor and installation, it is expected to be less than $200,000. This cost would be split between the town and the school district. The township’s portion will come from a sidewalk fund that’s set aside for projects like this.

At a recent meeting of the school board’s Buildings and Grounds Committee, it was noted that they were ready to receive quotes for a survey and should be going out to bid after that.

Meanwhile, the children from that neighborhood are being bussed to school, he said.