EGG HARBOR TOWNSHIP — Work is set to begin this week on a multimillion-dollar series of road projects in the eastern portion of the township that over the next year and a half will replace two bridges and the intersection of Fire and Mill roads, while repeatedly detouring drivers.

“It needs to be done,” said Township Committeeman John Carman, who attended an information session at the township building Wednesday afternoon. “It’s going to cause a traffic mess, but it needs to be done.”

Atlantic County engineering officials said crews will begin by replacing Mill Road’s Maple Run Bridge at the township’s border with Northfield. Work there is scheduled to start today.

Plans call for the bridge to be demolished down to the footings, followed by a total reconstruction. Traffic will be detoured starting about 7 a.m., and the detour will be in effect throughout the three-month, $1 million project.

Crews relocated utilities along the road last summer to accommodate the new bridge.

Once that work is finished, crews plan to begin replacing Zion Road’s Cedar Bridge, where the township intersects with Northfield and Linwood.

There, another full detour is planned while crews move utilities, demolish the structure down to the footings and reconstruct the roadway over about six months.

Both bridges will serve as detours for the other, county plans show.

At the same time, the county plans to commence a $3.9 million road-widening project at Fire and Mill, one of the busier intersections in the township. The project is expected to take 18 to 19 months, wrapping up by fall 2015.

Acting Atlantic County Engineer John Musto said crews will initially clear trees and prepare the ground east of Fire Road this spring and summer. Utility crews will then begin replacing poles and wires between July and the fall. Prep work could take six months.

Construction is expected to start in September. Crews expect to replace a small bridge on Mill Road west of the intersection between February and September 2015, requiring a detour on Zion and Old Zion roads.

When finished, the new intersection will feature:

  • Four lanes on southbound Fire Road, including dedicated right- and left-turn lanes
  • Three lanes on northbound Fire Road, including a dedicated left-turn lane
  • Three lanes on eastbound Mill Road, with dedicated right- and left-turn lanes
  • Two lanes on westbound Mill Road, with a dedicated right-turn lane
  • About 18 to 20 feet more width
  • Crosswalks, although neither sidewalks nor bicycle lanes are planned

John Peterson, the county’s deputy director for the division of planning, said the county has sought for years to make these upgrades but was slowed by the extensive wetlands that surround Fire and Mill roads, as well as permitting requirements from the Pinelands Commission and the state Department of Environmental Protection. Peterson said the county got its first project permit from the DEP in February 2008.

Both Pinelands and the DEP require the county set aside other land in compensation for the project. Peterson said the county created 2 acres of wetlands near Lakes Creek to satisfy one requirement. It also deed-restricted 4 acres of county-owned ground near the county’s golf course to replace barred owl habitat disturbed by the project.

Contact Derek Harper:

609-272-7046

@dnharper on Twitter

Senior copy editor for the Press of Atlantic City. Have worked as a reporter, copy editor and news editor with the paper since 1985. A graduate of the University of Delaware.