The Sunset Avenue Bridge, which crosses Deal Lake between the Wanamassa section of Ocean Township and Asbury Park, will be closed beginning Wednesday, January 28 for an estimated 454 days under a $9 million to $10 million Department of Transportation funded project to replace the bridge.
The projected date for the bridge to reopen is May 27, 2016
County officials, along with representatives from the North Jersey Transportation Planning Authority and the New Jersey Department of Transportation, will hold two information sessions on Tuesday, Jan. 27, the day before the proposed closure, in each of the communities affected by the bridge replacement
The first session will be held from 3 to 5 p.m. in Asbury Park’s council chambers, One Municipal Plaza, followed by a second session from 7 to 9 p.m. in Ocean Township’s public meeting room, 399 Monmouth Rd.
Several meetings on the bridge replacement have been held in the past and both Ocean Township and Asbury Park police departments are aware of the upcoming detours, which are mainly set up by the county since Sunset Avenue is a county road up to the Asbury Park border. It then becomes a city road in Asbury Park.
The purpose of next week’s meetings is to provide an open house to review information on construction, staging, detours, and schedules.
Asbury Park Police Officer Joel Fiori said the city already has its proposed detour route planned.
“The dedicated detour route for traffic leaving Asbury Park will be Fourth Avenue from Memorial Drive to Ridge Avenue/Wickapecko Drive and reversed for traffic entering the city,” he said.
He said he is still waiting for any additional information from the county’s engineering department.
Ocean Township police officials said they expect the detour will be at the intersection of Wickapecko Drive and Sunset Avenue. Traffic will most likely be detoured south into Asbury Park, but the option also remains for people to make a left and then head east on Grasmere Avenue through Interlaken.
Deal Police Chief Ronan Neuman said his officers will be made aware of the potential for more traffic. Deal police patrol Interlaken.
Donna Logdon, who owns the popular Sunset Landing restaurant just east of the bridge on Deal Lake in Asbury Park, said she questions the county’s time frame for the project and said she hopes the project proceeds as quickly as possible.
She said she will attend next week’s Asbury Park meeting on the project.
Logdon said she is looking into obtaining a temporary beer and wine license from the city to help offset a loss in customers and income while the bridge is being replaced.
“I don’t how I am going to pay my taxes and other expenses,” she said.
Logdon also takes care of local wildlife in the lake and she worries that, if the lake freezes, ducks and other waterfowl will not have a source of fresh water because the lake never freezes under the bridge span.
“And I would hate to see them go elsewhere where they might not be taken care of,” she said.
The Sunset Avenue Bridge has deteriorated over time and has substantial chipping and cracking that routine maintenance can no longer address.
The plans call for replacing the existing five-span bridge with a four-span span structure with arched fascia. It will have one 12-foot lane in each direction, with 6-foot shoulders and 6-foot sidewalks.
A triangular curb between Bridge and Sunset Avenues will also be removed.