Contractors with the state Department of Transportation and Department of Environmental Protection are hard at work in Brick’s barrier island portion working on the Route 35 reconstruction project as well as the construction of an oceanfront steel wall that is designed to be a secondary protective barrier to shore up the island.
With about 60 percent of the township’s barrier island portion occupied by seasonal residents, things usually quiet down a bit by mid-October, but this year (as with last) there are a slew of daily traffic jams as the highway reconstruction effort is underway. Currently, Route 35 in both directions is a one-lane-only road, and the lane that is open is often slowed by construction vehicles and motorists dodging slim passageways, bumps in the road and a slew of barricades and parked vehicles.
The steel wall revetment, a totally separate project, began in Brick Aug. 20 and is now nearing the finish line. The wall will be constructed 30 feet underground and about 15 feet above ground, but will be covered with sand once a beach replenishment project begins early next year. Should the dunes fail, the wall is designed to keep the island intact and prevent a breach like the one that occurred at Herbert Street in Mantoloking during Superstorm Sandy.
Both projects are on schedule, officials say. The steel wall has been installed by two crews – one working northward, and one working southward. The wall is now installed from Brick’s southern border (where it is stepped down to prevent water from being funneled into homes in Toms River), through Normandy Beach and Camp Osborn, past Brick Beach III. Crews on Thursday were working a few blocks north of Brick Beach III. The northern crew has, likewise, worked its way southward to Brick and the entire project is on schedule to be completed late this month or the first week of November, officials say.
As for Route 35, the timeline is a bit longer in nature.
Throughout the fall and winter, one travel lane will be closed in both the northbound and southbound directions for utility relocation, drainage improvements and paving between Ortley Avenue in Lavallette to Curtis Point Drive at the border of Brick and Mantoloking. In Mantoloking itself, which must be traversed to access Brick from the Mantoloking Bridge or Point Pleasant Beach, Route 35 southbound traffic will be detoured onto East Avenue from Osborne Avenue to Johnson Street. Route 35 northbound will be shifted onto the newly constructed southbound lane at Johnson Street through Osborne Avenue.
In a separate work zone, the northbound lane will be closed for approximately a half-mile between Herbert Street and Lyman Street, with alternating traffic for the installation of drainage, sanitary sewer, watermains and ITS conduit (sensors in the road which allow for traffic updates on Google Maps and other websites) followed by reconstruction of the road and paving. Work in this section will take place 24 hours a day, from 11 p.m. Sunday to 11 p.m. Friday.
Likewise to the revetment project, officials assure the project is on schedule to be completed before the summer season gets underway in 2015.