By DON STINE
Reconstruction of the footbridge across Sunset Lake in Asbury Park is on the table but several issues need to be worked out before the project can begin. The bridge was severely damaged during Superstorm Sandy and needs extensive reconstruction.
City Engineer Joseph Cunha said that the intense rising water level in the lake during the hurricane not only removed planking on the bridge but also caused the support pilings to be pulled out of their footings.
The bridge, which crosses the lake at Emory Street, is now closed to pedestrian traffic. The bridge was once used as a trolley bridge and dates back to the 1880s. The Library of Congress photo above is of the bridge and Sunset Lake circa 1900.
Cunha said that both the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO) have been involved in reviewing repairs to the bridge since it was damaged since it is considered an historic structure.
He said that some of the project design could have been done in-house but that the parameters are different since FEMA and SHPO are involved.
Cunha said he hopes the project can proceed in the near future after a modified proposal that allows for a partial professional services contract is approved by the city.
“The project still needs a survey and technical planning and drafting design and the city can’t do some of that,” he said.
Most of the cost to repair the footbridge is expected to be reimbursed by FEMA.
“There are plans to rebuild it but it will be very difficult to just do spot repairs to the bridge because of its age and the instability of the structure,” he said.
The city originally said it would repair its damaged boardwalk before focusing on repairing the footbridge.
Other damage to Sunset Lake includes some collapsed bulkheads and large trees that have been uprooted on several of the small islands.
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