Motorists can expect alternating lanes to begin Thursday on the bridge leading into Longport, with construction taking place through next May.

The delays are part of a $4.8 million rehabilitation project at the John F. Kennedy Memorial Bridge, which was built in 1963 and has been assessed in “fair” condition in the latest Federal Highway Administration National Bridge Inventory. Nearly 8,000 vehicles use the bridge each day between Longport and both mainland Atlantic County and Ocean City.

Atlantic County Engineer Joseph D'Abundo said motorists should expect the bridge to be reduced to one lane now through the project’s completion prior to Memorial Day 2014.

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“They should just plan that extra five minutes or so on to their morning commutes,” he said.

The contractor, Driscoll Construction, is authorized to close one lane on weekdays between 6 a.m. and 10 p.m. However, those times will change based on the work being completed on any given day, D’Abundo said. During deck resurfacing, for instance, a lane may be closed the entire day.

Mayor Nick Russo said the borough has worked out an arrangement with the road crews to allow emergency vehicles quick access across the bridge. The nearest hospital, for instance, is Shore Medical Center in Somers Point.

“Hopefully, the experience should be little shorter for us because of the fact that we closed those four days for them to make measurements a few weeks ago,” he said.

D’Abundo said the work, funded through the state Department of Transportation, includes repairing the foundation, replacing many steel supports and resurfacing the deck. Their work may also affect boaters with larger vessels, as bridge clearance may be reduced by five feet to accommodate work platforms.

The county will update the public about any developments with regard to the lane closings, he said.

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