Contractors are working to repair eroded sections of the Route 72 causeway after Hurricane Sandy ravaged the area between Long Beach Island and Stafford Township.

The causeway and Manahawkin Bay bridges were inspected immediately after the Oct. 29 storm and found to be structurally sound, state Department of Transportation spokesman Timothy Greeley wrote in an email Monday afternoon.

During inspection of the bridges, Greeley said, contractors found areas of scour and erosion at the abutments of each bridge structure. DOT contractor IEW Construction Group, of Tretnon, has been working underneath the bridges for the past few weeks to fill in eroded areas with large quantities of sand and stone, Greeley said. The erosion the bridges experienced does not pose a safety risk, he said.

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“Obviously, though, it is in everyone's best interest for NJDOT to respond and fill in these areas where the erosion had occurred to ensure the continued safety of the bridges, as well as to help prevent future instances of erosion,” he said.

Contractors are about 75 percent complete with the work to address the erosion and expect to be done by the end of December, although there is no price tag yet for the project, Greeley said. The work, most of which is being completed below the bridges, has not significantly affected traffic, with only an occasional shoulder closing. Contractors are also working to remove debris that was thrown under the bridges during the storm.

Despite Sandy, the first contract for the previously planned causeway bridge replacement remains on schedule for advertisement and awarding early next year, with construction expected to begin in the spring, Greeley said. The project was tied up in obtaining multimillion-dollar permits until earlier this year.

The project will consist of four contracts, with anticipated construction costs in excess of $250 million, officials said.

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