The bridge between Egg Harbor Township and Longport may close for repairs between Labor Day and spring 2014, detouring thousands of drivers for months.
Atlantic County has proposed a $3.1 million project to rehabilitate and redeck the John F. Kennedy Memorial Bridge. Initial plans called for partial lane closings spread out over two years. But local officials balked at two summers’ worth of traffic jams.
The current proposed schedule:
May 13-September 2013: Crews make repairs to the underside of the roadway between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. Monday through Saturday. Bridge remains open to traffic.
Sept. 4: Road closes for bridge deck rehabilitation, with work between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. Monday through Saturday.
Dec. 15: Road reopens to emergency vehicles.
April 1, 2014: Road closes for redecking.
April 15: Road reopens for everyone.
Some of the proposed renovations would be to fix the concrete deck and overlay it with a waterproof epoxy slurry, install new deck joints and repair the structural members of the bridge, according to an Atlantic County rehabilitation document. Crews would also repair or restore timber and steel piling and deteriorated concrete beams.
Egg Harbor Township approved the plan at its Wednesday meeting, leaving final approval to Longport. Longport Mayor Nick Russo said the commissioners would consider the proposal and vote Feb. 20.
Russo said he was concerned about the lack of emergency vehicle access. The borough may also have to adjust its noise ordinance.
“The bottom line is it is certainly going to be an inconvenience for the people of Longport,” Russo said.
The Federal Highway Administration rated the 1,323-foot bridge as 55 percent sufficient in its 2011 Bridge Inventory, listing the deck, superstructure and substructure in fair condition.
The survey also found that 7,595 vehicles use the 1963 bridge per day on average.
The official detour will likely take cars down Shore Road to Albany Avenue in Atlantic City, township Administrator Peter J. Miller said during Wednesday’s township meeting, a nearly 20-mile trip.
Miller said he thought many local drivers would instead use the Margate Causeway and bridge, a private toll road owned by Ole Hansen & Sons Inc. That journey would be about eight miles shorter but cost between $1.20 and $1.50 per trip.
“Mr. Hanson will, I hope, send us a (fruit) basket for sending him business,” Miller joked.
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