NJDOT officials announced a project to replace the Route 72 bridge decks in both directions over all lanes of Route 9 in Stafford, Ocean County. The two structurally-deficient bridge decks, located around milepost 23.2, have deteriorated over time and are in need of repair.
NJDOT’s contractor, Lucas Construction Group, began preliminary construction activity around the work zone recently including sign installation, site mobilization and other preparatory items. The initial phases of work — as the contractor constructs temporary, paved crossover lanes in the median of the highway — will not require any impacts to mainline Route 72.
The $3.5 million, federally-funded project is needed to replace the existing structurally-deficient bridge decks that carry Route 72 over Route 9. The existing 8-in. (20.3 cm) thick deck slabs will be replaced with 9-in. (23 cm) thick cast-in-place concrete slabs, resulting in a slight raise in the roadway profile. New bridge approach slabs, which do not exist today, will be added at all four approaches. The construction contract also includes sandblasting and painting of the bridge superstructures.
NJDOT has designed the bridge deck replacement work to be performed in stages, with at least one travel lane maintained on Route 72 in each direction at all times. The deck replacement work will take place in the off-season to limit the impacts on Route 72, the only shore/evacuation route to-and-from Long Beach Island. All four travel lanes will be maintained on Route 72 during the important summer season between April 15 and September 15.
The temporary crossovers are being built in the median to enable the diversion of live traffic off each bridge as they get reconstructed. Diverting traffic across the median will allow NJDOT to accelerate the construction and complete each deck within a shorter time-frame. Details on the bridge deck replacement schedule are as follows;
• Beginning this fall (2013) the Route 72 eastbound bridge will be closed with one eastbound lane shifted over the median onto the westbound bridge;
• Route 72 westbound will be configured to carry two westbound lanes and one eastbound travel lane, with opposing traffic separated by barrier curb;
• After the eastbound deck is complete, the traffic crossover will be reversed and the westbound bridge will be closed while the new deck is constructed;
• During this stage Route 72 eastbound will carry two eastbound lanes and one westbound travel lane, with opposing traffic separated by barrier curb; and
• Each stage of construction will require the closure of select on/off ramps at the interchange.