By Chris Rotolo |
FAIR HAVEN — At the borough’s annual reorganization meeting Tuesday, Mayor Benjamin Lucarelli predicted the potential future rehabilitation of the iconic Oceanic Bridge will be one of Fair Haven’s top issues in 2018.
The 2,712-foot span linking neighboring Rumson and Middletown became a topic of discussion among locals in December, when area residents were invited by Monmouth County to give input on what should be done about the aging structure, built in 1939.
Over 200 responses from area residents have been published on the county’s informal website, MonmouthCountyOceanicBridge.com, with many of the respondents expressing their wishes to maintain the personality of the overpass as a low-altitude drawbridge, rather than a raised, fixed-span construction that could potentially impact the scenic views of Navesink River homeowners.
Reports from Monmouth County and the North Jersey Transportation Planning Authority show the bridge is effectively failing. Combinations of age, deterioration and traffic volume have led both agencies to search for a replacement.
Still, others hoped the remodel would not interfere with their ability to bike and walk over the structure.
“Fair Haven prides itself on being a walkable and bike-friendly community,” Lucarelli said. “In 2017 we adopted a new transit plan as part of our master plan. So in the new year, we’ll continue to advocate for biking and pedestrian facilities on the new bridge.”
“Whether it’s a fixed-span that’s raised or a drawbridge, that’s yet to be seen,” Lucarelli added, stressing that to have a biking and pedestrian-friendly construction “is our main mission.”
Christopher Rodriguez is the Borough Council’s liaison to the county committee in charge of the Oceanic Bridge’s reconstruction. The Democratic councilman was due to be sworn in on Tuesday after being elected in November to a three-year term. However, he was out of state and absent from the reorganization session.
Rodriguez’s fellow incumbent, Susan Sorensen, was on hand, and the Republican councilwoman was sworn in to a three-year term of her own.
The governing body also elected John Peters as Borough Council president. He has served as the head of the finance committee.
Lucarelli also oversaw the appointment of a new municipal court judge, Peter Lucas, whose son Peter Lucas Jr. was just named to The Two River Times All-Area Football Team after rushing for 2,196 yards and 31 touchdowns for Rumson-Fair Haven Regional High School. Anthony Vecchio was appointed as the new municipal prosecutor.
Also recognized at the reorganization session were Fire Company officers Matthew DePonti (Fire Chief), Christopher Schrank (Deputy Chief), Matthew Bufano (First Assistant Chief) and Kevin Countryman (Second Assistant Chief), as were First Aid officers Katy Frissora (Captain), Dan Kane (1st Lieutenant) and Roxanne Keane (2nd Lieutenant). Fire Police officers Douglas Anderson (Captain), Marty Coy (1st Lieutenant) and Daniel Chernavsky (2nd Lieutenant), and Water Rescue Team Members John P. Felsmann (Unit Coordinator), Michael Wiehl (Deputy Coordinator), Jim Cerruti (Operations and Training) and Tim Morrissey (Maintenance and Repair) were also recognized.
This article was first published in the Jan. 4-11, 2018 print edition of The Two River Times.
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