A major challenge of the Manahawkin Bay Bridges Project, projected to start in 2012, will be to keep all lanes of traffic open during the summer.

The $234 million project will result in two main bay bridges side by side. One bridge will carry eastbound traffic and the other bridge will carry westbound traffic.

The first phase of the project is road widening on either side of the of the bridge including a re-design of the Marsha Drive intersection with Route 72. New drainpipes will be installed in Ship Bottom and a pump station will be added at 8th St. and Shore Avenue. The circle at Long Beach Boulevard and at Central Avenue will be eliminated. Central Avenue will be converted to a two-way.

The second phase will build a 2,500 foot-long bridge parallel to the 50 year-old Manahawkin bridge. The new bridge will be about 12 feet south of the old one.

The third phase will include rehabilitation of the decks of the three smaller trestle bridges.

The final phase includes rebuilding the deck of the existing main bridge.

The following quote came back to The Sandpaper about filtering the discharge from the pump station. “The water discharged into the bay will be treated prior to its entry into the bay.”

The 140 page preliminary environmental assessment report is online along with the project maps at www.state.nj.us/transportation/works/environment/.

Everything is contingent on the availability of funding. This project has only been funded through the design phase and the construction phase has yet to be funded.

The popular “string of pearls” lighting will be updated with new technology to improve reliability.