TRENTON – Governor Phil Murphy, New Jersey Department of Transportation (NJDOT) Commissioner Diane Gutierrez-Scaccetti, Ship Bottom Mayor William Huelsenbeck, and Stafford Township Mayor Gregory Myhre today marked the beginning of the final phase of the award-winning Route 72 Manahawkin Bay Bridges project.
“Today, work on the final aspect of the long-term rebuild and rehabilitation of the Route 72 Manahawkin Bay Bridge will get underway in earnest,” said Governor Murphy. “With new lanes that will be constructed at-grade and drainage and other improvements that will be made underground, the entirety of this project is part-and-parcel of our overall goal of ensuring the safe, modern, and resilient infrastructure that our state needs.”
“The Route 72 Manahawkin Bay Bridges project is an excellent example of how the Murphy Administration and the New Jersey Department of Transportation deliver projects that improve safety and improve the quality of life in our communities,” NJDOT Commissioner Gutierrez-Scaccetti said. “Today we are marking the beginning of the final contract of this project, but our commitment to this community will continue long after the asphalt is cured and the crews go home.”
“This project was introduced in 1993 and proposed by the Department of Transportation in 2007,” said Ship Bottom Mayor William Huelsenbeck. “It has now become a reality and Ship Bottom, ‘The Gateway of Long Beach Island,’ couldn’t be happier.”
“We appreciate the improvements that the NJDOT has made in Stafford Township over the past several years and we look forward to continuing our mutually beneficial relationship,” said Stafford Township Mayor Gregory Myhre.
“Throughout the past year, we have been reminded of the importance of working together. As we recover and move forward, working together will be paramount to our success,” said Dave Velazquez, President and CEO of Pepco Holdings, which includes Atlantic City Electric. “Today, we are recognizing an incredibly important project that demonstrates how collaboration between the public and private sectors can help us efficiently upgrade New Jersey’s infrastructure, making it more accessible, stronger and resilient in the face of a changing climate and more extreme weather.”
This final construction contract for the Route 72 Manahawkin Bay Bridges project is designed to improve safety and reduce congestion in Stafford Township at the Marsha Drive/Route 72 intersection and in Ship Bottom on Long Beach Island. In Stafford Township, Marsha Drive will be widened to provide double left turn lanes onto Route 72, and a third lane will be added on Route 72 in both directions near the intersection.
In Ship Bottom, approximately 3,000 feet of Route 72 (locally known as 8th and 9th Streets) and three cross roads (Barnegat Avenue, Central Avenue and Long Beach Boulevard) will be widened. Two-way traffic will be restored along Central Avenue and Long Beach Boulevard. Five traffic signals will be reconstructed, and a new traffic signal will be installed at the intersection of 8th Street and Long Beach Boulevard. In addition, a new storm drainage system and new outfalls will be installed in an effort to reduce frequent flooding along Route 72 and these intersections.
The $312 million Route 72 Manahawkin Bay Bridges Project was broken up into five contracts and involved the construction of a new bridge parallel to the existing Manahawkin Bay Bridge, the rehabilitation of the existing bridge, and the rehabilitation of three trestle bridges. There have been improvements made to bicycle and pedestrian facilities, as well as environmental mitigation. Construction began in 2013 and is expected to be complete in 2022.
The new bridge carries eastbound traffic, while the rehabilitated Old Causeway Bridge carries the westbound traffic. Environmental mitigation and improvements to Cedar Bonnet Island were completed including wetland creation, mitigation for freshwater wetlands, and a public walking trail.
The project has been recognized by the Federal Highway Association and the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials for environmental excellence and for improving the quality of life for residents and visitors alike.
For more information about the Route 72 Manahawkin Bay Bridges project, visit NJDOT’s project-specific website.