By Elaine Van Develde
It was not that long ago when Monmouth County officials told people to brace themselves for a four-month West Front Street Bridge closing starting Jan. 2. Now, they’re saying it the closing will happen “on or about Jan. 5,” but they’re still promising it will reopen before Memorial Day.
In fact, the target reopening date has been set for May 17; and, the last phase of the bridge replacement project “is on schedule to open before Memorial Day weekend,” Freeholder Thomas Arnone, liaison to the county Department of Public Works and Engineering, said in a release.
While, according to the release, pedestrian access, including dismounted walking bicyclists, will be open throughout the closure, drivers will need to plan alternate routes.
Detours will funneling traffic from Red Bank “north on Rector Place to Route 35 and across Cooper’s Bridge and then onto Navesink River Road to Hubbard Avenue,” the release said.
Toward Red Bank, traveling east, detours will guide traffic “from West Front Street in Middletown will be directed north on Hubbard Avenue to Navesink River Road to Route 35 and across Coopers Bridge to Rector Place,” it added.
Traffic congestion and travel delays are anticipated.
What to expect with the new bridge …
• The new span over the Swimming River between Red Bank and Middletown will be 480 feet long and 44 feet wide with two 12-foot travel lanes, six-foot sidewalks on both sides and four-foot shoulders;
• There will be nine feet of vertical clearance above mean high water elevation and roughly 72 feet of horizontal clearance within the navigable channel of the Swimming River;
• Architectural enhancements include ornamental lights and a decorative recessed brick panel parapet with a decorative ball and cap railing, similar to Coopers Bridge;
• Additional improvements will include roadway widening at the bridge entrances, improved storm water drainage, ADA accessible route, highway lighting and new guide rail treatments.
The West Front Street Bridge, or Hubbard’s Bridge, was built in 1921. It was constructed as a six span, stringer structure with a steel open grid deck.