Looking Forward to a New Year on the Shrewsbury and Navesink

January 11, 2018
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2018 will mark a busy year on the Two Rivers. The American Littoral Society’s Operation Oyster program will ramp up again. The goal will be to introduce oyster spat into the Navesink River.

By Jay Cook |

Officials, environmentalists and residents living and working along the Navesink and Shrewsbury rivers have made their New Year’s resolutions, aimed at enhancing and protecting the Two River area waterways. Here’s a look at a few developments reported by The Two River Times last year that will have an impact in 2018.

What Bridge Will It Be?

The Oceanic Bridge.

2018 will mark one of the busiest planning years in the Oceanic Bridge’s history. Built in 1939, the 2,712-foot-long bridge spans from the Locust section of Middletown across the Navesink River into Rumson. According to a county website dedicated to the project, the Oceanic Bridge is “structurally deficient,” “functionally obsolete,” and “nearing the end of its service life.”

Over the past 15 months, officials have held two public information sessions and surveyed residents for their input, receiving over 200 responses. There are plenty of options for Monmouth County, which owns the bridge, to choose from, ranging from a drawbridge – similar to the Rumson-Sea Bright Bridge – to a fixed span bridge – like the Captain Joseph Azzolina Memorial Bridge from Highlands to Sea Bright, which was finished in 2011. Residents’ groups, like the Friends of the Oceanic Bridge, have been calling for a low bascule bridge.

County and federal transportation officials are expected to recommend a preliminary preferred alternative for the bridge redevelopment in the winter/spring of 2018. The submission of a draft concept development report is tentatively due in the spring/summer of 2018, and the completion of a local concept development phase is set for the summer of 2018.

Wanted: Refillable Water Bottle Stations for Fair Haven Fields

If the project meets federal standards, federal funds would be made available for the new bridge. A cost is unknown at this time.

Coast Guard Station to Open Soon

Approximately $45 million in new construction is well underway at Coast Guard Station Sandy Hook, meaning the federal regulatory and law enforcement agency will be back at full force for the first time since Super Storm Sandy.

A dedication is tentatively planned in the spring for the opening of a new two-story, multi-mission building to house all operations, an immense two-bay boathouse, and a 10-lane small arms firing range. The main operations building on site was built in 1974 and was flooded with about two feet of water during Sandy. It will ultimately be demolished to make way for the boathouse expansion.

In August, Coast Guard Station Sandy Hook welcomed the Sitkinak and Shrike, two USCG cutters, back to Sandy Hook after reconstruction of the main docks, which were destroyed in Sandy. Those two vessels, along with smaller response boats, patrol the Two River waterways and assist in rescue missions.

Riverside Additions in Rumson, Fair Haven

The future Monmouth marine field station in Rumson.

If you happen to live in either of these riverside boroughs, you will notice some activity happening at a pair of locations along the Navesink River throughout 2018.

The Borough of Rumson and Monmouth University announced in September they would be forging a partnership to establish a marine field station behind borough hall to be used for Monmouth students studying in the university’s Urban Coastal Institute.

Along the Shore, Every Seashell Has A Story

The partnership entails expanding a sewer pump building to a 4,000-to-5,000-square-foot field station with classrooms, laboratories and meeting rooms.

While the approximate $1.5 million building is still two to three years from construction and completion, Monmouth University students will in the meantime use the adjacent municipal boat ramp for studies. The university’s vessels will also be kept on site.

In the neighboring borough of Fair Haven, work will begin in the spring of 2018 to clean up and renovate a 0.56-acre municipal property at 78 DeNormandie Ave. The work to create a living shoreline includes adding about 1,000 cubic yards of sand along with restoring a coastal bluff on site. Once completed, the borough envisions the property as a prime spot for river access.

Dredging The Shrewsbury River

Dredging in the Shrewsbury River began Oct. 1 and continued through the end of the year.

An initiative by the state Department of Transportation to dredge three specific channels in the Shrewsbury River will benefit boat owners when the summer boating season arrives later this year.

From Oct. 1 through Dec. 31, crews worked to dredge about 17,500 cubic yards of sand from the river basin to clear boating channels. From the staging site at the Monmouth Beach Cultural Center, sand and dredge materials were pumped underneath Ocean Avenue and then onto a stretch of beach between Park Road and Central Road in the borough. Construction crews spread that dredge material out along the beach.

Per state and federal regulations, all dredging had to cease on Dec. 31. The total project cost was $1.3 million.

This article was first published in the Jan. 4-11, 2018 print edition of The Two River Times.

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