The newly constructed West Front Street Bridge, also known as the Hubbard Bridge, will be closed to motor vehicle traffic from 6 a.m. on Wednesday August 12 through Wednesday August 26, according to a statement by Freeholder Tom Arnone.
The purpose of the closure is to allow utility workers to move overhead power lines off of the old bridge to newly constructed underground facilities, and to the contractor to reconstruct intersections on both the Red Bank and Middletown sides of the span.
Arnone said the other option was to have the contractors work in stages, over a twelve week period, which would have kept the bridge open but slowed traffic considerably for three months. The chosen schedule, made in consultation with elected and administrative officials in both Red Bank and Middletown, will allow the bridge to reopen prior to the Labor Day Weekend and before the start of school.
“This schedule allows motorists to make adjustments to their travel plans for two weeks,” Arnone said.
In Red Bank, on the eastern side of the bridge, the intersection of Shrewsbury Avenue, Rector Place and West Front Street will be closed so the Contractor can complete the reconstruction of the intersection. Accordingly, eastbound traffic will be detoured from West Front Street to Bridge Avenue to State Highway 35 (crossing Cooper Bridge) to Navesink River Road; traffic will then continue to Hubbard Avenue to Carpenter Street to Applegate Street. Detour signs will be posted along the route.
In Middletown, the intersection of Hubbard Avenue at West Front Street will be closed for the reconstruction of the intersection. Westbound traffic will be detoured to Applegate Street to Foster Street to Hubbard Avenue to Navesink River Road to State Highway 35 South (crossing Cooper Bridge) to Bridge Avenue to Monmouth Street to Shrewsbury Avenue.
As planned, the new West Front Street Bridge first opened to traffic on May 18, 2015, in time to welcome tourists for the Memorial Day Weekend.
The final completion of this project was originally scheduled for April 2016.
“The County is hopeful that by permitting the contractor to close the bridge for this two week period, the project can be finalized ahead of schedule,” added Arnone.
In addition to the relocation of various utilities, the old bridge will be completely removed, concrete sidewalks will be completed that will provide an ADA accessible route from Hubbard Avenue in Middletown to Rector Place/Shrewsbury Avenue in Red Bank.
The new West Front Street Bridge is 44-feet wide with two 12-foot travel lanes and four-foot shoulders and six-foot sidewalks in both directions. The new bridge provides approximately nine feet of vertical clearance above mean high water elevation; there will be approximately 72 feet of horizontal clearance within the navigable channel of the Swimming River.
The previous West Front Street Bridge was originally constructed in 1921 as a six span, simply supported, through girder, floor beam, stringer structure 339 feet, 4 inches long. The deck was a steel open grid deck. Each span was 55-feet long between bearings. The original substructure consisted of pile supported concrete abutments and piers and wing walls.
Due to the original bridge’s age, severe corrosion required that the bridge’s superstructure be replaced. This was completed in 2004. A temporary Acrow® panel truss superstructure was erected and substructures were adapted to carry the trusses. This temporary installation was made to keep the bridge crossing open to traffic while a permanent replacement structure could be designed.