Monmouth County awarded federal funding for local projects

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Monmouth County has received North Jersey Transportation Planning Authority (NJTPA) board approval of an additional $31 million in federal funding for the replacement of the Rumson-Sea Bright Bridge and $800,000 in federal funding for a study of Laurel Avenue in Holmdel.

“I am happy to report the NJTPA board approval of the additional funding necessary for our much needed replacement of the Rumson-Sea Bright Bridge. We are finalizing our contract documents to replace a current movable bridge with a new movable bridge structure relocated to the south and anticipate being ready for construction by the end of this year,” said Monmouth County Freeholder Director Thomas A. Arnone, who represents the county on the NJTPA Board of Trustees.

“With NJTPA programming the additional $31 million, this bridge replacement project will be fully federally funded in the amount of $104 million,” he said on May 12.

The projects are among four throughout the region that the NJTPA Board of Trustees approved at its May 11 meeting. According to a press release from the county, the two separate projects are as follows:

• Rumson-Sea Bright Bridge (S-32) carries Route 520, Rumson Road, across the Shrewsbury River between Rumson and Sea Bright. This bridge serves as one of two evacuation and emergency routes in times of tidal flooding and coastal storms.

The existing aging structure is at the end of its service life and requires complete replacement. Monmouth County is proposing a movable structure to replace the current structure, at a cost of $31 million;

• Laurel Avenue (Route 52) serves residents of Holmdel and Middletown as a major connection between the Garden State Parkway and Route 35, where there is significant commercial activity.

There is a pinch point at the grade-separated intersection of South Laurel Avenue and the NJ Transit North Jersey Coast Line between Commons Way and Continental Boulevard in the study area. There are also vertical clearance issues with the railroad bridge.

The study will identify the project purpose and need, as well as assess various alternatives in an effort to identify a preliminary preferred alternative through coordination with various stakeholders and the public, at a cost of $800,000.

“This NJ Transit bridge on Laurel Avenue has a low vertical clearance (12-feet, 5-inches) and routinely gets hit by trucks traveling along Laurel Avenue. Subsequently, the bridge is in a substandard condition,” Arnone said.

“The purpose of this study is to develop and assess various alternatives for this grade separated railroad crossing and we will be working closely with NJ Transit and the New Jersey Department of Transportation for potential improvements,” he said.

The NJTPA is the federally authorized Metropolitan Planning Organization for 6.7 million people in the 13-county northern New Jersey region, according to the press release.

Each year, the NJTPA oversees more than $2 billion in transportation improvement projects and provides a forum for interagency cooperation and public input. It also sponsors and conducts studies, assists county planning agencies and monitors compliance with national air quality goals.

The NJTPA board consists of 15 local elected officials representing 13 counties (Bergen, Essex, Hudson, Hunterdon, Middlesex, Monmouth, Morris, Ocean, Passaic, Somerset, Sussex, Union and Warren) and the cities of Newark and Jersey City, according to the press release.

The board also includes a governor’s representative, the New Jersey Department of Transportation commissioner, the NJ Transit executive director, the chairman of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, and a citizen’s representative appointed by the governor.