Ocean County Press Release
TOMS RIVER – Residents, homeowners and stakeholders are invited to a public information center scheduled for July 29 to review improvement alternatives for the Chadwick Beach Island Bridge.
"The public information centers are a integral part of the preliminary steps we need to take in order to get federal funding for this project and also to determine the best method to improve this span," said Ocean County Freeholder Deputy Director John P. Kelly, who serves as Director of Law and Public Safety. "We encourage residents, both year-round and seasonal, along with our officials and interested parties to attend and be a part of this important dialogue."
Kelly, who serves as co-chair to the Ocean County Engineering Department with Freeholder Director Virginia E. Haines, also serves on the North Jersey Transportation Planning Authority – a major funding source for the bridge project.
The public information center is scheduled to run from 4 to 7 p.m., July 29 and will be held in the Mancini Room of the Main Branch of the Ocean County Library at 101 Washington Street, Toms River. The location was decided upon based on the number of participants expected to attend. A location closer to the project was not available that could accommodate both parking and the number of attendees.
The Chadwick Beach Island Bridge, which carries Strickland Boulevard over the Inward Thoroughfare of Barnegat Bay, is located in the shore community of Chadwick Beach which is part of Toms River Township. The structure connects Chadwick Beach Island with the main barrier island between the Atlantic Ocean and Barnegat Bay. The bridge provides the only access to the 360 homes located on the island.
The existing structure is an all timber bridge with a timber substructure (load bearing piles and timber bulkhead) that was originally constructed in the 1950s. Its existing timber superstructure (timber deck boards, pile caps and railings) was replaced in 1985. There are signs of deterioration of the timber bulkhead which retains the roadway fill in front of the bridge abutments. While the structure has been rated in Fair Condition, ongoing maintenance is helping to slow further deterioration. The curb-to-curb width of 24 feet and a 3.5-foot sidewalk which is present on the north side, do not meet current design standards.
"It's important that we begin the process to restore the structural and operational integrity of this span so that ultimately it will be safer and stronger," said Freeholder Haines. "Working together we can determine what will be best for this area since this bridge provides the only access to the Chadwick Beach Island residents."
Ocean County in coordination with the North Jersey Transportation Planning Authority (NJTPA) and the New Jersey Department of Transportation (NJDOT) are conducting a Local Concept Development (LCD) study to determine appropriate improvements to the Chadwick Beach Island Bridge. The project goals are to preserve the structural integrity of the bridge and increase safety for all modes of transportation.
The LCD study is the first step of the project development process. The process includes the evaluation of existing conditions; development of a Purpose and Need Statement; fulfillment of an Alternatives Analysis; and selection of a Preliminary Preferred Alternative.
"Community participation and stakeholder coordination is integral throughout all stages of the study," Haines said.
This is the second public information center held as part of the process.
Representatives from all of the agencies affiliated with the project will be available to answer questions. A brief presentation will be made at 4:30 p.m.
Additional project information can be found by visiting www.chadwickbeachbridge.com. For those unable to attend, a community input survey can be found on the website.