State and Ocean County officials on Monday jointly announced their preference of plans to replace a half-century-old, timber bridge in the Chadwick Beach neighborhood of Toms River.
State officials presented 14 plans, ranging from performing minimal rehabilitation work on the bridge to an ambitious plan that would include a 52-foot span over the Inward Thorofare, the lagoon waterway the bridge crosses.
The preference for the joint project will be a 42–foot wide bridge with a 30-foot roadway, similar to the present bridge’s size, with a 5-foot shoulder and separate 5-foot sidewalk and bike lane. The present bridge has no shoulder or sidewalks. The lane width will be 10-feet. The project’s estimated cost is $13,213,700, which will be funded by the North Jersey Transportation Planning Authority.
While the work to replace the 1950s vintage wooden bridge has been discussed for years, physical construction work on the project will not be started until the third quarter of fall of 2025 and will not be completed until the spring of 2027.
Judith Bowen, vice president and senior project manager for GPI Engineering, the state’s contractor for the project, said work involving lane closures will be completed during the winter season when there are fewer vehicles on Strickland Boulevard, the road the bridge carries over the waterway. But engineering studies have found increasing traffic year-round in recent years and the bridge will be built in two stages to allow traffic to cross during construction.
“We will have traffic signals on both sides,” said Bowen. “Based on volume – even at the peak during the day – you don’t get a queue.”
The traffic lights will cycle every 80 seconds, Bowen said. Traffic peaks around the PM rush hour on weekdays after Labor Day.
According to the current timeline, concept development will be completed during the winter of 2020, followed by preliminary engineering. Then, in fall 2022, the final design of the bridge will be confirmed. Construction is slated to begin in the third quarter of 2025 and end in the second quarter of 2027. The entire project, once designed, will take between 15 and 18 months to complete.