If you thought it wouldn't be long now before you could drive down Rumson Road from either direction and make a right or left onto Seven Bridges, you were wrong.
Monmouth County officials have announced that the months long project, originally slated for completion at the end of January, has been delayed a few months to mid-April.
The reason for the delay: Hurricane Sandy.
“Following the storm, our contractor evaluated the situation at the bridge and reassessed the schedule,” County Engineer Joseph Ettore said in a released statement. “However, after resuming work and upon reaching the point in the schedule where the foundation piles for the bridge abutments were to be installed, the electric to the bridge had to be de-energized.”
In order for that work to be completed, Jersey Central Power and Light Co. (JCP&L) needed to devote time that was being devoted to Sandy-related work to the bridge area de-energization. That aspect of the project involves disconnecting overhead power lines to ensure safe, hazard-free installation of the bridge's new foundation pilings.
JCP&L crews resumed that work, and the 60-year-old bridge's replacement and bulkhead reconstruction began again on Dec. 7, roughly a month-and-a-half post-Sandy.
The bridge, referred to in engineering ease as an outdated dual span timber bridge, had been deemed structurally-deficient, Ettore said. It is replaced with "a new pre-cast concrete deck on a reinforced concrete abutment,” he explained. “The new structure will meet current vehicular highway load requirements and eliminate the current weight restrictions on the bridge.”
So, in order to complete the work that Sandy delayed, the barriers and detours on and off of Rumson Road onto Seven Bridges will remain in place through mid-April.
"Specifically, northbound traffic on Seven Bridges Road will detour west on Silverside Avenue to Branch Avenue and then travel north on Branch Avenue to Rumson Road. Conversely, southbound traffic should follow Rumson Road west to Branch Avenue and then travel south to Silverside Avenue," a county release said.
"Temporary traffic signals on Branch Avenue at the intersections with Rumson Road and White Road/Winfield Avenue were installed to assist with the traffic redirected by the detour."