Representatives from the New Jersey Department of Transportation (DOT) provided an update on the Route 72-Manahawkin Bay Bridges Project to Senator Christopher J. Connors, Assemblyman Brian E. Rumpf and Assemblywoman DiAnne C. Gove and local mayors at a meeting held in Stafford Township. The meeting was held at the request of the 9th District Legislative Delegation.
Local officials in attendance were Surf City Mayor Leonard T. Connors, Jr., Barnegat Light Mayor Kirk Larson, Harvey Cedars Mayor Jonathan Oldham, Ship Bottom Mayor William Huelsenbeck and Stafford Mayor John Spodofora.
The 9th District Delegation made the following remarks on the meeting:
“Overall, the purpose of the meeting was to provide local officials with the opportunity to ask direct questions of DOT staff as to the timeframe for the project’s completion and other related issues. This information will allow officials of affected municipalities to more effectively respond to constituent inquiries about the project, not only in terms of its completion but also with respect to public safety.
“We were assured by the DOT that the bridges, while categorized as structurally deficient, are completely safe to travel on and are fully capable of handling the heavy volume of traffic normal for the summer tourist season. It was made clear that repairing and/or replacing structurally deficient bridges remains the DOT’s top priority moving forward with its Capital Program.
“Like many residents, our Delegation has, for years, been calling on the state to expedite work on this project, given the bridges’ condition and the fact that the Causeway serves as the only means of ingress and egress to and from Long Beach Island. During the course of the meeting it became clearly evident that one of the major factors in holding this project for so long has been the elongated and convoluted multi-million dollar environmental permit process that involves a host of governmental agencies.”