State and local officials will team up for an informational meeting on the replacement of the Chadwick Island Bridge, which carries Strickland Boulvard over a small lagoon, connecting Route 35 to Chadwick Island.
The bridge, which is made of timber and considered obsolete and structurally deficient, is being replaced by Ocean County, which has jurisdiction over the span. In 2017, the North Jersey Transportation Planning Authority approved $325,000 in federal funds for a replacement study. The meeting, which is set for May 6, will present the study, known as a Local Concept Development Study, to members of the public.
Built in the 1950s, the bridge is the only access point to Chadwick Island, a neighborhood in Toms River’s North Beach section. Many residents have expressed concerns as to how they will be able to access their homes while the bridge is being replaced.
The existing structure is an all-timber bridge with a timber substructure – load bearing piles and timber bulkhead – that was originally constructed in the 1950s. Its existing timber superstructure, including timber deck boards, pile caps and railings, were replaced in 1985. But officials say most of the timber bulkhead which retains the roadway fill in front of the bridge abutments is deteriorating and exhibits severe section loss and in places is “visibly compromised.” Due to its age, many of the load bearing piles and their cross bracing have “severe timber rot and section loss.”
The structure is officially rated in fair condition, and ongoing maintenance is required to retard further deterioration. Also, the curb-to-curb width of 24 feet and a 3.5-foot sidewalk which is present on the north side, do not meet current design standards.
Public awareness is critical since the bridge provides the only access to the Chadwick Beach Island residents.
“The purpose of the meeting is to review the condition of the bridge and to solicit public input and comment towards the project’s Purpose and Need Statement, which is needed to obtain funding for future improvements,” a public notice of the meeting stated.
The meeting is an open-house format but there will be a brief presentation, the announcement said. The presentation will begin at 4 p.m., with the meeting open until 7 p.m. on Monday, May 6 at Toms River town hall, 33 Washington Street.
For those who can’t make it to the meeting, written comments will be accepted through June 6, 2019. Comments may be emailed or mailed to: Nicole Pace-Addeo, Public Involvement Specialist Stokes Creative Group, Inc. 1666 US-206 Vincentown, NJ, 08088, or via e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.