By Liz Sheehan
SEA BRIGHT – After two nighttime closures for maintenance work, no more are scheduled for the 67-year-old Rumson-Sea Bright Bridge over the Shrewsbury River, said Laura Kirkpatrick, the director of public information for Monmouth County.
Work on the bascule span, the portion of the bridge that opens to allow passage of boats too tall to go under the bridge, was originally scheduled to be completed in one night, but weather caused a second closing. The bridge was closed from 8 p.m. to 6 a.m. each time.
“The county is always working to maintain bridges,” Kirkpatrick said.
Beginning in 2020, the county plans to replace the existing bridge S-32 on Rumson Road with one slightly south of the current span. While the new bridge is under construction, the old one will remain in place.
According to the county engineers, the bridge is in overall serious condition and structurally deficient. Federal funds are being used for the the design and construction of the new bridge.
The bridge serves as one of two evacuation routes for Sea Bright in times of coastal storms and flooding.
Plans for the new bridge include a signalized intersection which would include the south driveway of the Seabright Beach Club.
The county is also proposing purchasing the former Sunoco property south of the existing bridge to give access to the Nautilus Condominium complex and compensate for loss of parking for Dunkin Donuts and Oar Fitness, which will have a portion of their parking lots taken away when the bridge is shifted to the south.
The former Sunoco lot is needed, according to the county, because state regulations do not permit left turns either in or out of Old Rumson Road, which is just south of the lot where Dunkin Donuts is located. The former Sunoco site will be needed to create access to the businesses in that area.
However, the old Sunoco lot is currently owned by Tommy Bonfiglio, the proprietor of Tommy’s Tavern + Tap, who is seeking approval from the town’s Unified Planning Board to expand his restaurant and add the additional required parking spaces in the former Sunoco site.
At a November hearing on the proposal, Bonfiglio’s attorney, Martin McGann, Jr., said, “We had a meeting and told them our plans” for the site. A hearing on the application continues before the board.
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