Gov. Jon S. Corzine recently joined New Jersey Department of Transportation (NJDOT) Commissioner Kris Kolluri and state and local officials to break ground on the new Route 52 Causeway Bridge between Ocean City and Somers Point.
“I am pleased to announce that this long-awaited project is under way,” said Corzine. “New Jersey’s transportation system is more than just a network of roads and railways — it is the backbone of our economy. The Route 52 Causeway, one of the largest bridge projects undertaken in the state’s history, demonstrates our commitment to further strengthening the economy in South Jersey and in our state as a whole.”
The $400 million Route 52 Causeway Bridge will feature four 12-ft. (3.6 m) travel lanes, 8-ft. (2.4 m) shoulders and a concrete median barrier. NJDOT also will provide a new visitor’s center, multi-use sidewalks for bicyclists and pedestrians and several fishing piers as part of the project.
“The Route 52 Causeway, which will provide a critical evacuation route, represents one of the largest bridge projects NJDOT has ever undertaken,” said Commissioner Kolluri.
“We look forward to advancing construction as quickly as possible and will work closely with local officials while the project is under construction.”
The DOT was able to reduce the project’s cost by $90 million due to increased design efficiencies. The initial $217 million phase of the project includes the replacement of 1.2 mi. (1.9 km) of the interior portion of the 73-year-old Route 52 Causeway from Elbow Island to Garrett’s Island.
By summer 2008, NJDOT will build a new northbound bridge east of the existing causeway. Traffic will then be shifted off the old causeway, which will be demolished to make way for the new southbound roadway. The new southbound roadway will be completed by fall 2009.
In addition, NJDOT will replace the existing Route 52 Causeway’s two remaining lift bridges, eliminate the Somers Point Circle and make improvements to MacArthur Boulevard in Somers Point. NJDOT is scheduled to complete the entire project by 2012.
NJDOT’s Route 52 Causeway replacement project features construction techniques designed to save taxpayers funds while providing a safe, reliable and long-lasting bridge. NJDOT redesigned the project, eliminating approximately 3,200 ft. (975 m) of the bridge’s structure, simplifying the fishing piers and modifying dredging and environmental mitigation.
NJDOT planned construction in a manner that entailed no detours during construction. Two lanes will remain open to traffic in each direction during the summer tourist season. Variable message signs will be in place to inform motorists of changes to the traffic pattern.