Longport-Somers Point bridge commuters have already begun to see traffic delays, as construction begins to rehabilitate the bridge, reducing the two-way roadway to one lane.
Sarah Squire, 30, of Margate, got caught in the snarl Friday morning when she went to teach stand-up paddle yoga in Sea Isle City. She said she waited in traffic about three or four minutes.
Her lane flowed smoothly when she came home in the early afternoon. But in the other direction, “I would say it was easily a half-mile backup.”
The $4.8 million project on the John F. Kennedy Memorial Bridge just outside Longport is expected to be completed just prior to Memorial Day next year, and will likely require an extra five minutes of travel time for motorists, said Atlantic County Engineer Joseph D’Abundo.
The roadway will be reduced to one lane throughout the duration of the project, with special consideration given to emergency vehicles traveling to Shore Medical Center.
“That’s going to make it more dangerous,” said Nick Hagmaier, 29, of Atlantic City. Hagmaier frequently includes the bridge on his bicycling route from Atlantic City, he said. If the traffic gets bad enough he said he will have to start using the Black Horse Pike.
Traffic on Friday afternoon was light and the delay for both east and westbound traffic was less than 30 seconds. It was completely clear by 4:15 p.m.
Joyce Caraballo, transportation coordinator for Mainland Regional High School, said the lane closings would not affect CHOICE students as they traveled to and from the high school. She warned it could impact field trips and trips to athletic events on Absecon Island.
“There’s a weight limit on the Margate Bridge; we stay clear of that,” she said. She said traveling to the nearest other bridge, on the Black Horse Pike, would add considerable time.
Staff writer Derek Harper contributed to this report.
Contact Anjalee Khemlani:
@AnjKhem on Twitter