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Route 37 Bridge Set for Lane Closures Friday

The Thomas A. Mathis Bridge between Seaside Heights and Toms River. (Photo: Daniel Nee)

The Thomas A. Mathis Bridge between Seaside Heights and Toms River. (Photo: Daniel Nee)

The Thomas A. Mathis Bridge, which carries traffic on Route 37 eastbound from Toms River into Seaside Heights, will close to the traffic for the third year in a row later this week.

The bridge, built in 1950, is undergoing a major rehabilitation project. It has been closed during the fall and winter for the past two years as work has been completed. Seaside Heights officials said this week the bridge will close for the third year “on or about” Friday, Oct. 27.

One lane eastbound and two lanes westbound are to be maintained on the J. Stanley Tunney Bridge – which usually carries westbound traffic only – during construction. The Mathis bridge is scheduled to reopen April 30, when the project will be completed for good. 

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In the case of an evacuation of the island, the barriers facilitating the traffic shift will be able to be moved out of place if additional capacity is needed.

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.