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AC Press:

Four lanes will flow again on Route 52
State will replace guardrails in time for Memorial Day
By MICHAEL MILLER Staff Writer, (609) 463-6712
Published: Wednesday, March 1, 2006
Updated: Wednesday, March 1, 2006

OCEAN CITY ? All four lanes of the Route 52 causeway will be reopened to car traffic by Memorial Day, state officials said Tuesday.

Acting Transportation Commissioner Kris Kolluri said the state will spend about
$1 million to repair guard rails so concrete barriers that block two lanes can be removed on the main entrance to Ocean City.

The speed limit will be reduced to 25 mph the length of the 2.5-mile causeway between Somers Point and Ocean City, Kolluri said.

?One of the things I know from being from South Jersey is how important tourism is,? he said. ?Considering the economic benefits that will be realized by making this four lanes, it is well worth the investment.?

Motorists and residents in four area towns were alarmed when the state closed two lanes of the causeway in January with little notice. They feared the lane closures would lead to gridlock throughout the region.

The truck ban will remain in place. The narrow road ? also called the Ninth Street causeway ? will get slightly narrower. The two center lanes will span 10 feet in width. The outer lanes will lose a foot apiece. A rumble strip will divide the four lanes of travel, Kolluri said.

Kolluri said the road was one of his priorities when he took over as acting commissioner a month ago.

The improvements need only last until 2012 when a new, replacement causeway is completed.

?I think it's worthwhile,? Ocean City Mayor Bud Knight said of the temporary fix. ?Otherwise, we're looking at three or four years of lane restrictions.?

Kolluri said the state likely will repair the causeway at night.

Ocean City is still considering ways to improve traffic flow this summer. The mayor said the city is considering opening the Ocean City-Longport Bridge and Gardens Parkway to smaller delivery or panel trucks.

?Nobody wants to see big trash trucks or tractor trailers coming in,? Knight said.

Meanwhile, the state has redesigned the new causeway in an effort to cut costs. In January the state rejected bids that came in $93 million higher than the $150 million budgeted for the first half of construction.

The new configuration still calls for building two elevated bridges from Ocean City to Somers Point. But instead of being elevated their entire length, the bridges will drop to ground level over the 1,800 feet of Rainbow Island. This will shave as much as $60 million in construction materials, Project Manager Dave Lambert said.

On Rainbow Island, the causeway will be built atop a 4-foot berm to raise it above rising tides during the worst coastal storms.

The state is keeping its plans to build a new Ocean City visitor center, fishing piers and parking lots.

The state also will allow an alternate steel design in the hope of attracting more bidders, Lambert said.

The new causeway is expected to be complete by 2012. But the state is including an incentive clause in its construction contract to get one of the two two-lane spans open by the summer of 2008, Kolluri said.

After the conference Tuesday, James Johnston Jr. of Agate Construction confronted Lambert in the lobby to refute his claims that the initial bids were not competitive. Johnston's Dennis Township company was the lowest bidder with $243 million to complete the first phase of the project.

To e-mail Michael Miller at The Press:

[email protected]
 

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everytime I see an article about this the project completion date seems later 2012? Was that always the time line. I'll bet it isnt done til much later and it will cost OC tax payers dearly before all is said and done.
 

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The lanes are gonna be even more narrow? Sheeesh!
 

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Yea, I heard about this yesterday. I still wouldn't want to drive in those outside lanes.
Believe me, I have been out on Rainbow and saw the water underneath me in spots..

Accident Waiting To Happen !!!
 

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Open by Memorial Day, eh? Heard that one before. Just like we were promised the Beesley's Point Bridge would re-open Memorial Day 2003, right? We see how that one turned out.

I mean seriously, do you really think they would give up the toll money being generated now (either on the Parkway or OC/LP bridge) from people coming into the island from the Expressway and north? This is NJ. Give me a break... They will only make billions more in the summertime.

Interesting..... :rolleyes:

[ 03-02-2006, 12:39 PM: Message edited by: Fly Ty R ]
 

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Steve,
Its kind of like Chief Brody telling he mayor that there is a big shark before the big weekend. Isn't politics wonderful.

Jeff

[ 03-02-2006, 12:56 PM: Message edited by: Longcast ]
 

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Originally posted by Longcast:
Steve,
Its kind of like Chief Brody telling he mayor that there is a big shark before the big weekend. Isn't politics wonderful.

Jeff
:D LOL :D
Yep, I just watched that classic scene the other night. Something Else...

You Yell Barracuda - they say HUH ???
You Yell SHARK - panic on the 4th of July...


[ 03-02-2006, 01:04 PM: Message edited by: NIGHTSTRIKES ]
 

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I think the same thing is going to happen here in Manahawkin and LBI the main causeway bridge has some serious buckling going on on the curb mostly on the west bound side line and they are always working on the thing.
 
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