Route 52 bridge walkway now open from OC to Somers Point

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Claire Lowe / Pedestrians can now walk the entire length of the Route 52 Bridge and Causeway from Somers Point to Ocean City. The walkway connects to the bike path in Somers Point. Claire Lowe / Pedestrians can now walk the entire length of the Route 52 Bridge and Causeway from Somers Point to Ocean City. The walkway connects to the bike path in Somers Point.

OCEAN CITY – Just in time for spring, the pedestrian walkway running along the south side of the new Route 52 Bridge and Causeway is now open.

“Go at it, have fun,” said Capt. Steve Ang, spokesman for the Ocean City Police Department. “It’s another addition to go along with the boardwalk for recreational use.”

Ang said barricades blocking access to the 10-foot wide pathway near the Welcome Center were removed over the weekend. Dan Lord, project manager for the $500 million project, Ang said, confirmed that the bridge is now “fully operational.”

“There may be periods of time where the barricades come back, as they finish working on the Welcome Center,” Ang added.

The two story Welcome Center, featuring a wrap-around porch and areas for launching kayaks, fishing, boating and bird-watching, is expected to be open sometime next month. 

Ang said the pedestrian walkway is designed for walkers, joggers and recreational bicyclists.

“It’s a nice, safe area, protected from vehicles,” he said. “High speed, serious bikers should use the shoulder of road on the bridge. It would create a hazard if a serious biker were on the pedestrian walkway.”

Ang said he has already noticed a lot of activity on the walkway.

“I noticed a lot of people walking and jogging. There were two track teams out there on Tuesday afternoon. They’re using it for training,” he said.

While police are pleased to see people enjoying the new walkway, Ang warned that everyone involved needs to be careful. Mid-span, the entrance and exit to a fishing pier is a big attraction, but it is a potentially dangerous area due to the traffic pattern, he said. The fishing pier is on the south side of the bridge, so westbound traffic must cross eastbound traffic to enter the pier area.

“The pedestrian walkway crosses the fishing pier entrance,” he said. “So the cars coming from Ocean City crossing traffic to enter the fishing pier have to be aware that they need to watch out not just for oncoming traffic, but also bikers, joggers and walkers along the pathway. Everybody has to be aware. If someone is halfway across and then realizes that there is someone crossing, walking across or biking across, they will have to stop short and then there could be traffic coming.

“You also have to be careful at the Welcome Center,” he said.

Ang said engineers developed a safe plan and felt confident in their design.

For those using the pathway, Ang said to watch for clam shells as seagulls have been using the pathway as a solid surface for cracking the shells open.

“As more people are out there, the seagulls won’t use it as much, but you have to watch for them,” he said.

Serious bikers need to be extra vigilant on the Ocean City side of the bridge because there is no should on Ninth Street. On the Somers Point side of the bridge, a path near Circle Liquor takes pedestrians and bicyclists under the bridge. The path then connects to the bike path through Somers Point, Linwood and Northfield and, eventually, on to Mays Landing, but you have to cross Shore Road.

“As you are coming in to Ocean City, bicyclists should turn right onto Pleasure Avenue and go to Tenth Street,” he said, to go across town. 

A bike path is in the works, connecting the north end of the island with the south end, and east to west across Ninth Street, but Ninth Street remains the “missing link.” The bike path is on Simpson Road and Simpson Avenue from Battersea Road to Fifth Street, then runs behind the primary school and connects to Haven Avenue all the way to 36th Street. From there, cyclists have to bike along the shoulder of West Avenue.

“At some point, the bike path will be completed,” he said. “Right now, you have to be careful on Ninth Street.”

Ang said people should be extra careful as they adjust to new traffic patterns.

“I’m sure there will be kinks, things will pop up,” he said. “It remains a work in progress, but it’s a lot better than it was a week ago. They got it open, just in time for the nice weather. I’m sure its going to be a very popular destination this spring and summer.”

Claire Lowe / The walkway on the Route 52 causeway goes underneath the bridge to connect to the bike path in Somers Point. Claire Lowe / The walkway on the Route 52 causeway goes underneath the bridge to connect to the bike path in Somers Point.

Claire Lowe / The Welcome Center on the new Route 52 Bridge and Causeway is expected to open next month. Claire Lowe / The Welcome Center on the new Route 52 Bridge and Causeway is expected to open next month.

Claire Lowe / Pedestrians can now walk the entire length of the Route 52 Bridge and Causeway from Somers Point to Ocean City. The walkway connects to the bike path in Somers Point. Claire Lowe / Pedestrians can now walk the entire length of the Route 52 Bridge and Causeway from Somers Point to Ocean City. The walkway connects to the bike path in Somers Point.

Claire Lowe / Pedestrians can now walk the entire length of the Route 52 Bridge and Causeway from Somers Point to Ocean City. The walkway connects to the bike path in Somers Point. Claire Lowe / Pedestrians can now walk the entire length of the Route 52 Bridge and Causeway from Somers Point to Ocean City. The walkway connects to the bike path in Somers Point.

Claire Lowe / Pedestrians can now walk the entire length of the Route 52 Bridge and Causeway from Somers Point to Ocean City. The walkway connects to the bike path in Somers Point. Claire Lowe / Pedestrians can now walk the entire length of the Route 52 Bridge and Causeway from Somers Point to Ocean City. The walkway connects to the bike path in Somers Point.


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