Beesleys Point demolition project underway

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BEESLEYS POINT – Contractors are staging equipment in Somers Point to begin a three-year project to demolish the Beesleys Point Bridge and build a new southbound Parkway bridge.

Route 52 Constructors, a joint venture of G.A. & F.C. Wagman, Inc., of York, Pa., and R.E. Pierson Construction Co., Inc., of Pilesgrove, was awarded a $129.8 million contract by the New Jersey Turnpike Authority in March. The contract includes the replacement of the southbound Parkway bridge, demolition of the Beesleys Point Bridge, and interim repairs to the northbound Parkway bridge.

Construction will also include a 10-foot wide multiuse pathway along the bridge that can be used by pedestrians and bicyclists. New approach roadways to the bridge will also be built.

Pilings from the Beesleys Point Bridge will be saved and used to build a walkway for anglers that fish the area around Drag Island as part of an agreement between the state Department of Transportation, Department of Environmental Protection and state Sen. Jeff Van Drew.

After construction of the new southbound Parkway bridge is complete, the saved pilings will be used to build a walkway from the Somers Point side of the Great Egg Harbor Bay to Drag Island. A short pier from Drag Island into the Great Egg Harbor Bay could also be included.

Fishing groups from across the state were concerned about the loss of the Beesleys Point Bridge because it would close access to Drag Island from land. The shallow waters there have been a popular fishing spot.

In a presentation on the project last year, the New Jersey Turnpike Authority said the Beesleys Point Bridge would be totally removed and parts of Drag Island and wetlands on the Somers Point side would be reforested with Cedar trees. The area was to be considered a wetlands mitigation area so public access would be restricted initially.

Committeeman Jay Newman said last week that he had met with contractors to discuss traffic impacts in Upper Township. Officials had been concerned work trucks would be parked on Harbor and Cove roads in Beesleys Point during construction, which is expected to last three years.

The roads there are narrow and could limit access to homes there in an emergency.

Newman said contractors expect minimal traffic issues in Upper Township.

“At this point, they say the impact will be minimal,” he said.

A new southbound Parkway bridge is needed because of cracking and rusting on the current span. The southbound bridge is the older of the two parkway bridges. It was built in 1955. The northbound bridge was built in 1973.

The Beesleys Point Bridge has remained unused for nearly a decade.

Staging for construction equipment will be done on the Somers Point side of the bridge near the Beesleys Point Bridge and the adjacent section of Rt. 9.


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