TRENTON-New Jersey Department of Transportation (NJDOT) officials announced this week that all three lanes of traffic on the Mathis Bridge/Route 37 eastbound are scheduled to be reopened this weekend for the start of the summer vacation season in Ocean County.
The Mathis Bridge has been closed since October for the second of three winter construction seasons with one lane of eastbound traffic shifted onto the Tunney Bridge.
Starting at 11 a.m. Thursday, May 11, until 9 a.m. Saturday, May 13, NJDOT’s contractor Schiavone Construction Company, is scheduled to begin the process of reopening the Mathis Bridge, which includes removing construction barrier, restriping, and reconfiguring traffic signals approaching the bridges.
The normal traffic pattern with three eastbound travel lanes on the Mathis Bridge and three westbound travel lanes on the Tunney Bridge is expected to be completed by early Saturday morning.
The eastbound Mathis Bridge and westbound Tunney Bridges are a pair of bridges carrying Route37 over Barnegat Bay between Toms River and Seaside Heights. The Mathis Bridge, a mile-long double leaf bascule moveable span bridge completed in 1950, is the older of the two and in need of repairs.
Construction on the $74 million federally-funded project to replace the existing bridge deck on the Mathis Bridge, which is 67 years old, make safety improvements to the barrier and railings, and repair and replace mechanical and electrical components that operate the moveable lift span, began in the fall of 2015. It is being done over three winter construction seasons to avoid working during the busy summer season. When the Mathis Bridge is closed for construction during the winter, two lanes of traffic westbound and one lane eastbound are maintained on the Tunney Bridge, separated by a moveable barrier.
During the second construction season, NJDOT completed a new bridge deck for the entire span and finished a newly rebuilt bascule (movable span). In addition, new four-bar railings replacing the previous parapets have been completed, new warning gates and lights, a new bridge operator’s control desk and approximately 80 percent of the new electrical components that operate the movable bridge and cameras have been installed. During the final construction season beginning this fall, new bridge approaches and the cast-in-place anchor spans are expected to be completed. The project is expected to be completed by the summer 2018. The construction cycle requiring a full closure of the Mathis Bridge will be limited to November 1 to April 30 each year. During each of these construction cycles, summer traffic from approximately May 15 to September 15 will not be affected and all three current lanes on each bridge will be open to traffic.
NJDOT created a project-specific website that contains a wealth of information about the project, which can be found on the Department’s web site by going to www.NJCommuter.com and selecting Route 37 Mathis Bridge under the Construction Updates bullet. The Department is carefully coordinating the project with local officials to minimize the effect to residents and businesses.
The Department has a Project Community Outreach Team that can be reached through the project hotline telephone number, 732-230-7356, email, DOT-Route37Mathis.email@example.com, or project website. Anyone who has questions, concerns, or suggestions is encouraged to contact the Project Community Outreach Team as work progresses. To stay informed as the project progresses, send your email to the Community Outreach Team to sign up for project alert emails.
NJDOT will be using Variable Message Signs to provide advance notification to motorists of traffic pattern changes associated with the work. Follow us on Twitter @NJDOT_info and visit www.511nj.org for travel advisories.