Work to replace the first half of the Duck Farm Bridge in Brick Township is poised to begin in the coming weeks, with crews already having started the process of moving equipment and signage into the area.
The bridge carries traffic along Hooper Avenue (at Chambers Bridge Road) near its intersection with Mantoloking Road and Cedar Bridge Avenue. Though often obscured from sight while driving, the bridge crosses the Cedar Bridge branch of the Metedeconk River, adjacent to the property of the popular Villa Vittoria restaurant. The bridge, partially anchored by timber, will be replaced in two phases in order to maintain two-way traffic through construction, but work on the first phase must begin before the end of the year in order to comply with state environmental regulations that preclude some types of construction during the winter fish spawning season.
“What they want to do is be able to get in and demolish half the bridge, work on half of it, and get the new half open before they have to be out of the water again,” said Ocean County Engineer John Ernst. “They’re trying to work that out, and with the timing of the deliveries it all has to fall into place.”
Some equipment has already begun to be staged, and motorists will likely notice more activity in the coming days before construction begins by year’s end.
“You’ll start to see some activity there where some equipment will be moved in on a piece of property nearby,” Ernst said.
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 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.
In July, the county awarded a $4,106,036 contract to Rencor Inc., of Somerville, N.J. to complete the work. The state will fund a $1,723,491 portion of the project through the Department of Transportation’s Local Bridge Fund.
The exact schedule of work will be announced with electronic signage.
“It’s all weather-dependent, and dependent on deliveries and the supply chain,” Ernst said.
The span is known as the Duck Farm Bridge, 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. The name of the bridge, which carried traffic to the farm, stuck in the decades that followed.