Starting this week, and through summer, drivers to and from Long Beach Island get some breathing space they've awaited all winter.

Route 72 bridge construction
The current Route 72 Manahawkin Bay bridge (L) and artist rendition of completed bridge (NJ DOT)

The New Jersey Department of Transportation (NJDOT) says that by Tuesday, April 19, traffic patterns on the Route 72 Bridge will revert to pre-construction configurations, in anticipation of increased flow.

NJDOT says that single-lane closures continue until May 14, when two lanes will run in each direction and construction will continue off the bridge for the season.

The $350,000,000 Route 72/Manahawkin Bay Bridge project involves construction of an entirely new second span alongside the existing one.

At its anticipated completion later this year, the Bay Bridge will close for a complete overhaul, after which it will carry traffic from LBI to the mainland, while the new span takes drivers over Manahawkin Bay to the island.

Still, a word to the wise who travel late at night: NJDOT says that the contractors are allowed to set up single-lane overnight closures between mid-May and mid-September.

The entire project is scheduled for completion in 2020.

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