The Thomas A. Mathis Bridge, which carries eastbound traffic on Route 37 over Barnegat Bay, shut down Friday morning and will be closed until May.
The bridge was scheduled to close “on or about” Nov. 1. For the remainder of the fall, winter and a portion of spring, traffic in both directions will utilize the J. Stanley Tunney Bridge, a larger, fixed-span bridge.
The Mathis drawbridge, built in 1950, is undergoing a significant rehabilitation project. The Tunney bridge, completed in 1972, is a fixed-span bridge that does not open for boat traffic.
This summer, the Mathis bridge became the object of criticism after a barricade affixed to the span failed after the bridge opened on several occasions, causing traffic backups. As the span is rehabilitated, the drawbridge will not open for marine traffic. Bridge openings will not be available from Dec. 1, 2016 through March 30, 2017.
The Mathis bridge will reopen to vehicular traffic April 30, 2017, officials have told Shorebeat.
[box type=”shadow” align=”” class=”” width=””]Project Background
The project is expected to cost about $79 million, and will rehabilitate the Mathis bridge in numerous ways. The project includes:
- The replacement of the deck in the moveable span, flanking spans and the approach spans.
- Safety improvements to the barrier and warning gates and railings.
- Substructure and structural steel repairs.
- Bearing replacement and some painting.
- Mechanical and electrical rehabilitation of the machinery and controls.
The Mathis Bridge deck width will be improved to provide three ten-foot wide lanes. According to state officials, the middle lane of the bridge is currently 10 feet wide, but the two outer lanes are only nine feet wide. Existing pedestrian access on the north sidewalk of Tunney Bridge will not be changed during the temporary traffic shift, the DOT said.[/box]