Key Jersey Shore bridge to close Friday through spring

The Mathis Bridge in 2015. (Photo: Justin Auciello/for WHYY)

The Mathis Bridge in 2015. (Photo: Justin Auciello/for WHYY)

The closure of the Thomas A. Mathis Bridge, the causeway that connects Toms River, New Jersey with the Barnegat Bay Island, is once again set to begin Friday as another construction season commences soon, state officials announced.

The project contractor, Schiavone Construction Company, is scheduled to close Route 37 eastbound at the intersection of Douglas Street in Ocean County’s Toms River, located just prior to the Mathis Bridge, at 7 a.m. in order to shift eastbound traffic onto Route 37 westbound to utilize the J. Stanley Tunney Bridge, according to New Jersey Department of Transportation spokesman Steve Schapiro.

Traffic will be shift back onto Route 37 eastbound after crossing the Tunney Bridge near Sunset Drive on Pelican Island, Schapiro said in a release, adding that the jughandle to turn onto Douglas Street in Toms River will remain open.

Officials expect the shift to conclude by Friday evening. In addition, the Mathis Bridge will be closed to marine traffic between Dec. 1 and March 15, 2018.

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The years-long project involves deck replacement, safety improvements, and mechanical and electrical work on the span, which was built in 1950. The bridge is older than the adjacent westbound Tunney Bridge.

This upcoming construction cycle will see the installation of new bridge deck panels and a new four-bar parapet along with the replacement of bridge bearings.

Crews will also rehabilitate the bridge operator’s house, finish structural steel repairs of the anchor and bascule spans, and upgrade the electrical and mechanical systems that operate the bridge, warning gates, and video monitoring system.

Construction will occur between Nov. 1 and April 30 through 2018. All three lanes on each bridge will be open to traffic by May 15.

The state anticipates that the project, slated to end in 2018, will cost approximately $74 million, with funding from the Transportation Improvement Program (TIP) under the auspices of the National Highway Performance Program.

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