TOMS RIVER – If it feels like déjà vu, it’s because it is. The 67-year-old Mathis Bridge, which carries travelers eastbound on Route 37 across the Barnegat Bay from Toms River into Seaside, will close once again this Friday, October 27 as part of a third – and final – winter construction phase to complete a $74 million deck replacement project.
Traffic will be shifted onto the westbound Tunney Bridge during the closure, which is expected to last until May 15, 2018, right before the busy summer vacation season hits the shore.
During that time, two lanes of traffic will move east and west via the Tunney Bridge, which usually carries only westbound motorists who are leaving Seaside.
Travelers should expect to see bridge closures begin on Friday starting at 7 a.m. and last until 10 p.m., as the New Jersey Department of Transportation’s contractor Schiavone Construction Company starts the process of relocating construction barriers, and restriping and reconfiguring traffic signals leading up to the bridges. Route 37 will be closed at the intersection of Douglas Street just before the Mathis Bridge, and after motorists cross the Tunney Bridge, traffic will be shifted back onto Route 37 eastbound near Sunset Drive on Pelican Island. The jughandle to turn onto Douglas Street in Toms River will stay open.
The complete shift in traffic is expected to be finished by Friday evening.
During this final construction phase, Schiavone will be able to install new bridge deck panels, a new four-bar parapet and replace bridge bearings. The bridge operator’s house will also be rehabilitated and structural steel repairs of the anchor and bascule spans will be completed. The electrical and mechanical systems that operate the bridge, warning gates and video monitoring system will also be upgraded.
The bridge will also be closed to marine traffic between December 1, 2017 and March 15, 2018.
The 3-year, federally-funded project will replace the aging, mile-long moveable span bridge deck on the Mathis Bridge that was built back in 1950 and is older than its counterpart, the Tunney Bridge.
For more information, reach out to the NJDOT’s Project Community Outreach Team through its hotline telephone number 732-230-7356 or email DOT-[email protected].