A bridge that many motorists may never have realized existed will be replaced in phases, officials said.
Earlier this year, Ocean County announced that the Duck Farm Bridge would be replaced under this year’s capital budget. The Duck Farm Bridge crosses a small branch of the Metedeconk River along Old Hooper Avenue near the busy intersection with Mantoloking Road. It carries Old Hooper over the Cedar Bridge Branch of the Metedeconk River in the area just south of the Harbor Freight Tools store and just north of the Villa Vittoria restaurant.
Needless to say, heavy traffic occurs daily in the location of the bridge, leading county officials to decide it should be replaced in phases. The entire project went out to bid about a month ago and bids will be received July 6. The construction date will be chosen after a contract is awarded a pre-construction meetings are held. It is expected to begin sometime later this year.
According to updated information on the project from the county, the work will consist of the complete demolition of the existing single-span concrete and timber bridge, which is 30-feet long. It will be replaced with a single-barrel 28-foot span, made of precast concrete with a rigid frame founded on cast-in-place concrete footings. The bridge will be supported on cast-in-place piles.
The bridge will be replaced in two phases – half at a time – in order to maintain two-way traffic on Old Hooper during construction.
The scope of work also includes the construction of temporary and permanent steel sheeting, reinforced concrete wing walls, plus minor drainage, curbing and sidewalk improvements. The project will also include the installation of ADA-compliant ramps, roadway reconstruction, and a new guide rail.
The state announced a grant of $1,723,491 from the Department of Transportation’s Local Bridge Fund in May 2021 to fund the replacement. The grants “focus on the repair, reconstruction and replacement of bridges with the greatest structural deficiencies,” the DOT said in a statement at the time. The project was designed by the county in 2019.
The span is known as the Duck Farm Bridge, old Brick Township lore holds, because of an illegal still that was operated just up Old Hooper during and after the prohibition era at a duck farm near Drum Point Road. According to the Brick Township Historical Society, the still was raided in 1937 – after prohibition had ended – by the Ocean County Sheriff’s Department. Carl Borman, the property’s owner, was arrested along with two workers who manned the 5,000 gallon operation.