The weather outside has yet to become frightful, but the state Department of Transportation is scaling back work on the Causeway $350 million expansion and rehabilitation project, leaving the current traffic flow as is through spring. The good news is there should be no surprise traffic shifts that could bring back summer-like snares, which popped up for a two-day period just before Thanksgiving.
Dan Triana, DOT public information officer, confirmed the scour countermeasures work at the West Thorofare Bridge will shut down later this month for the winter. It is expected to restart in early spring 2018.
“Work on the bridge will resume with the installation of retaining walls along the abutments of the bridge,” he said. “In addition, landscaping will be added around the new retaining walls and the multi-use walkways. This work is not expected to impact traffic, and will be completed in 2018.”
The rehabilitation of the existing Causeway is on schedule, he added.
“Work on building up the pier caps to align the old bridge with the newly constructed bridge was completed this year. It is expected that crews will finish installing the last set of beams this month before starting on the forms and the reinforcement steel for the bridge deck, ” Triana said. “The concrete deck pours are expected to begin in spring 2018.”
Meanwhile, the rehabilitation of the Hillard’s Thorofare Bridge is ongoing, according to Triana, who noted the south side deck was demolished this year and replaced. Additionally, a new parapet and new lighting was installed on the south side.
“Traffic is currently on the south side of the bridge to allow for work on the north side of the bridge. The north side deck has been demolished,” he said, noting the north section of the bridge will have a sidewalk and rail system to separate motorists from pedestrians and improve safety. “The northern portion of the bridge deck and deck joints are expected to be formed and poured this month.”
Two lanes of traffic in each direction will return on the Hillard’s Thorofare Bridge before the 2018 summer season, Triana said.
“As work advances, traffic will be shifted to the north side of the bridge in late 2018 to allow for deck joint replacement and final paving on the south side of the bridge,” he said. “The majority of the repairs underneath the bridge has been completed, but pile cap and bridge diaphragm repairs will continue in 2018.”
In addition, construction has started on Route 72 roadway improvements including new asphalt, curbs, sidewalks and drainage in the area west of the Hillard’s Thorofare Bridge, Triana said.
The bridge project, which began in 2013, and is expected to continue through 2022, is being done through separate contracts to expedite design and construction, he said. “Although the contracts are in various stages of development, the overall project is advancing on schedule with a 2022 estimated completion date,” Triana said.
A new bridge parallel to and south of the existing Manahawkin Bay Bridge has already been constructed, he recounted. The existing Manahawkin Bay Bridge and three trestle bridges are also being rehabilitated. There also will be improvements made to bicycle and pedestrian facilities, as well as environmental mitigations, Triana said.
“The new bridge structure, which opened in 2016, currently has two lanes in each direction while the old Causeway Bridge undergoes reconstruction,” he said. “Ultimately, this new structure will function as the bridge for eastbound traffic while the original structure will carry the westbound traffic.”
The rehabilitation of the East Thorofare Bridge is complete, Triana said, noting the rehabilitation of both the old Causeway Bridge and the Hillard’s Thorofare Bridge is expected to be completed in 2020.
— Gina G. Scala TheSandPaper