Oceanic Bridge Finally Reopens
After seven months of construction, the Oceanic Bridge is reopened to vehicle and pedestrian traffic.
The span was closed during much of the fall and winter as crews conducted repair work to the bridge’s center bascule which already over seventy years old.
Monmouth County Freeholders celebrated the reopening of the bridge on Friday, standing right in the center of the span with state senator Joe Kyrillos as well as mayors from Middletown and Rumson; the two municipalities connected by the bridge.
Freeholder Director John Curley noted that the great weather the state had over the winter played a huge part in keeping construction efforts on track, ensuring a reopening well before the ever important Memorial Day Weekend.
Both Middletown Mayor Anthony Fiore, and Rumson Mayor John Ekhdal expressed the importance of the span as an artery for not only commuters in their respective towns, but for the merchants within their communities.
Ekhdal said while many of the notable shops, restaurants, and eateries managed to survive the holiday season with minor losses, many were really starting to feel the crunch come spring.
“For whatever reason, I guess people were just getting tired of taking the long route, the last few months have been very tough on local businesses. The last few months they’ve been down thirty percent, so we’re really excited for this event.”
Freeholder Deputy Director Thomas Arnone said repair to the bridge was also notable because instead of flat out replacing many of the parts, they did an analysis to only replace what was necessary and repair the rest. That sped up construction, and saved residents money.
“Coming up with the reconstruction was a home run for our taxpayers. Our taxpayers are going to see no [financial] impact from this because of the funding we received from the state.”
He acknowledged the work of Senator Joe Kyrillos for his work securing much of that funding.
Though the parts were replaced as needed, County Engineer Joseph Ettore says the safety of the bridge actually improved. Before no vehicle over 3 ton could enter, now that number is increased to 15 tons.
Though the repairs should last the bridge for over a decade, the solution is not final. The county is working with the federal government on the design of a new bridge. Ettore says currently they have several studies presented, and the federal government is looking at one of two options.
Either another bascule span like the current Oceanic Bridge or another non bascule bridge which would stand taller. Ettore says the county is pushing for the bascule several local municipalities