\r\n\r\n<strong><img class="alignleft size-full wp-image-17786" src="http:\/\/thecoaster.net\/wordpress\/wp-content\/uploads\/2017\/11\/bridge-out_7573-copy.jpg" alt="bridge out_7573 copy" width="320" height="214" \/>By DON STINE<\/strong>\r\n\r\nMany Neptune residents living in the Shark River Hills section of Neptune are finding it a little harder than usual to make their way home right now.\r\n\r\nA $3.5 million grant from the state Department of Transportation, which includes a $300,000 contribution from the county for utility changes and upgrades, is paying for a project that will upgrade the East End Avenue Bridge, crossing the western end of the Shark River.\r\n\r\nThe bridge was recently closed and is expected to remain closed until almost Memorial Day. In the meantime it is creating some problems for residents to get home.\r\n\r\n\u201cIt kills me. It kills everybody. It is a real inconvenience to the residents,\u201d said Township Business Administrator Vito Gadaleta, who lives in Shark River Hills.\r\n\r\nHe said the bridge project and the related traffic detour, which reduces main access roads into Shark River Hills from three to two, creates a very \u201croundabout\u201d alternative route with motorists having to use Brighton Avenue, either north or south.\r\n\r\n\u201cIt easily adds a good 10 to 20 minutes to the commuting time and there are traffic backups at the Sylvania and Brighton Avenues signal- and that is being brought on by the detour,\u201d he said.\r\n\r\nBut Gadaleta also points out that the project is \u201ca necessity and has to be done.\u201d\r\n\r\nAnother bridge in Neptune also will also be shut down for repairs beginning\u00a0<span class="aBn" tabindex="0" data-term="goog_259025368"><span class="aQJ">Dec. 1<\/span><\/span>. The bridge on School House Road, between Neptune and Wall, will be closed for six to seven months. A detour will probably use Gully Road as an alternative route.\r\n\r\nJohn\u2019s Cracker Barrel, a deli, pizzeria and grille located at 1 S. Riverside Drive, is a business very closely located to the bridge closure.\r\n\r\n\u201cOn weekdays we do not get the same amount of traffic of people going to work and we have lost a fair amount of business because this traffic is not there anymore. Literally, all of our traffic is going away from us now,\u201d night manager Shea Eastwick said.\r\n\r\n\u201cWeekends are pretty much the same but weekday mornings we are really feeling it,\u201d he said.\r\n\r\nEastwick said he does hear some complaints about the bridge closure from customers from time to time \u201cbut that people are getting used to it.\u201d\r\n\r\n\u201cBut it will certainly be better for us when the bridge is done,\u201d he said.\r\n\r\nThe annual Holiday Tree Lighting at Volunteer Park, on S. Riverside Drive, will be held on\u00a0<span class="aBn" tabindex="0" data-term="goog_259025369"><span class="aQJ">Friday, Dec. 1 at 6 p.m.<\/span><\/span>\r\n\r\nThe bridge was replaced in 1990 but a 2015 study showed increasing deterioration to the bridge that was also affecting the roadway and sidewalks. The project will replace most of the old timber with metal and have new black guardrails and decorative lighting on pylons that will be 75 feet apart. The elevation of the bridge will not change.