Construction on the Thomas A. Mathis Bridge, the causeway that connects Toms River with the Barnegat Peninsula, will begin during the spring, state officials said.
Announced last year, the work involves major repairs to the span, which was built in 1950. The bridge is older than the adjacent westbound Tunney Bridge.
“During the major construction months, the Mathis Bridge will be completely closed to vehicular traffic,” said New Jersey Department of Transportation Commissioner Jamie Fox in a letter to impacted municipalities. “Eastbound traffic heading to the Barnegat Peninsula will be diverted onto the adjacent Tunney Bridge, and the traffic pattern on the Tunney Bridge will be changed to accommodate one eastbound travel lane and two westbound lanes.”
Crews will construct temporary crossovers to shift eastbound traffic onto the Tunney Bridge and back onto Route 37 eastbound, according to the letter. Workers will maintain existing access to local businesses, and pedestrians will continue to have year-round use of the Tunney Bridge sidewalk. In addition, the Mathis Bridge’s lift mechanism will remain in the closed, or down, position between December 1 and March 30 of each construction period.
To accommodate summer shore traffic, the state will limit major construction activity that requires the full closure of Mathis Bridge to the off-season months of November through April, starting in November 2015 and concluding in April 2018, the commissioner said.
The state anticipates that the project will cost approximately $79 million, with funding from the Transporation Improvement Program (TIP) under the auspices of the National Highway Performance Program.