OCEAN CITY — The Roosevelt Boulevard bridge will be closed overnight this week as a major repair job begins.
The job to replace 18 sections of decking, which will take place over this offseason and the next, starts when the contractor installs concrete barriers for lane closures Wednesday night. The bridge will be closed 10 p.m. Wednesday to 5 a.m. Thursday as the barriers are set up, county engineer Dale Foster said.
The contractor, South State, Inc., was awarded the $6.5 million job in September. South State put a temporary shield directly underneath to bridge earlier this month to catch falling debris.
At that time, all state projects receiving money from New Jersey’s Transportation Trust Fund were frozen as part of a shutdown ordered in July by Gov. Chris Christie. Christie lifted the freeze Friday, Oct. 14 when he signed a bill that will raise the state’s gas tax 23 cents on Tuesday, Nov. 1.
Christie said raising the tax would help bolster the fund, which had run out of money.
Speaking by phone last week before Christie signed the bill, Foster said the county decided to move forward with the project, despite the freeze.
About $1 million of the $6.5 million project is set to be funded by the state, Foster said. The county was set to send a request for the funding on Monday, Oct. 17, to the New Jersey Department of Transportation.
The contractor is set to cut the bridge down to one lane of traffic until May, before opening the bridge back up for next summer and completing the project on the other side of the road during the 2017-18 offseason.
Work will start on the eastbound side of the bridge heading toward Ocean City, before switching westbound next year.
The bridge will receive new decking for the first time since it was constructed in 1964, Foster said. The span, which connects Ocean City with Upper Township, shows obvious signs of wear and a number of asphalt and concrete patches from minor repair jobs done over the years, especially on the Ocean City side.
The county spent $2.5 million for structural repairs on the bridge in 2005, and the most recent decking repair was done in 2009.
“It’s a priority project,” Foster said. “There’s only a limited time that we can do this work.”
Foster said the state Turnpike Authority asked the county to delay the project by one week as workers near completion of the Garden State Parkway bridge, which opened to southbound drivers heading from Atlantic County to Cape May County in August. Lane closings put in place to build an interim traffic crossover to shift northbound traffic to the new southbound span have caused major northbound delays on the highway at times this fall.
Officials have said the crossover should be complete by Thursday, Oct. 20.
According to a press release sent Friday by county officials, the lane closing on the Roosevelt Boulevard bridge should be lifted by May 4 of next year.
Other work on the bridge includes strengthening structural steel members of the main span over the navigational channel, railing repairs and deck joint replacements.
Plans for the work are available at www.capemaycountynj.gov.