The Thomas A. Mathis Bridge, which carries Route 37 eastbound over Barnegat Bay, will reopen to traffic by the first week of May, officials said Monday.
The bridge, which has been closed since the day after the Labor Day holiday, will reopen “on or before” May 6, according to the Toms River Office of Emergency Management.
The OEM said the contractor on the project, Schiavone Construction, has until July to complete “minor cosmetic issues” and complete the project as a whole.
The bridge has been closed for three fall and winter seasons as part of a large-scale maintenance project. In the mean time, traffic has been rerouted over the J. Stanley Tunney bridge, with one lane of three separated out to carry eastbound traffic.
The project is expected to cost about $79 million, and will rehabilitate the Mathis bridge – completed in 1950 – 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.