Starting in November 2015, the Route 37 Mathis Bridge between Toms River and Seaside Heights will be closed for some much-need repairs.

Mathis Bridge between Toms River & Seaside Heights
Mathis Bridge between Toms River & Seaside Heights (NJ DOT)

NJ Department of Transportation spokesman Kevin Israel says traffic will switch to the Tunney bridge every year for the next three years, then switch back in time for summer.

"Work will halt in the summer months to allow the increased seasonal traffic on both the Mathis and Tunney Bridges," Israel said.

Israel says officials hope that plan will minimize the impact on the area's vital tourism industry.  Detours will be clearly posted, and any changes to the timetable will be communicated to the public in advance.

The $79 million project will involve deck replacement on the 65-year-old structure, as well as new barrier and warning gates.  But Israel says it also brings an important lesson on a pressing issue.

"The project is funded through federal dollars," Israel said.  "And we should keep in mind that if the transportation funding crises at the federal and state levels are not resolved, projects like this will be impossible."

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