UPPER TOWNSHIP — Mayor Richard Palombo says renovating the Tuckahoe River Bridge on Route 50 has been on the township’s agenda since he became involved in local politics almost 20 years ago.
For drivers looking to make their way to the shore this summer, the bridge, which connects Corbin City and Upper Township, has become a major headache. That’s because vehicles going south on Route 50 are being diverted due to construction on the bridge every weekend until the end of the summer.
Taking the Tuckahoe River Bridge is part of the route many tourists use to get to South Jersey from the Philadelphia area.
However, State Police now send the drivers onto Aetna Drive, which, after turning into Head of the River Road, eventually links up with Route 49. After crossing the river, drivers will be able to hop back on Route 50.
The detour will be in effect 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. every Saturday and 2 to 8 p.m. every Sunday until at least the end of the summer.
“The traffic typically was bad before the detour started on the weekend,” Palombo said.
Palombo said it probably won’t be in the best interest of travelers to take Route 50 to the shore destinations on Fourth of July weekend, but traffic was backed up for miles on the Garden State Parkway during Memorial Day weekend when the detour was in effect.
“It’s really been complicated by a number of construction programs that are being done at one time,” he said.
The rebuilding of the Route 50 Tuckahoe Rive Bridge is an $11.7 million, federally funded project, according to the state Department of Transportation. The department considers the bridge “structurally deficient.”
“If that bridge wasn’t updated, it would’ve been closed, and traffic would’ve been worse,” Palombo said.
The Department of Transportation said the project should be completed by next summer.