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Route 36 Bridge to Sandy Hook

January 3rd, 2008 · No Comments · Current Events, New Jersey

highlandsbridge1.jpg

(Photo by Ticalian)

By Terry Gauthier Muessig

“Two more lawsuits have been filed opposing the state Department of Transportation’s planned replacement of the Route 36 drawbridge over the Shrewsbury River.

The suits, filed by Citizens for Rational Coastal Development and the borough of Sea Bright on Dec. 20 in federal District Court in Trenton, seek an injunction to stop the construction process. They claim the project is too large and expensive, would destroy the quaint feel and scenic views of the area and would be hazardous to pedestrians and bicyclists crossing the bridge….”

I have lived along Route 36 for a year now and I have to say that this bridge is a real sore spot to the community.  I think most people agree that the bridge is in need of repair and updating. However the current DOT plan is going to replace a small drawbridge in a quaint beach front community with  a large spanning bridge more along the lines of what you find on a super highway. Most people traveling to Sandy Hook beaches use this bridge. The current bridge is two lanes in each direction and is a draw bridge so that boats can travel along the Shrewsbury River. The proposed new bridge would be 73 feet high and 92 feet wide. This would be like adding a two and a half story building to the current bridge’s height and adding a 3 story easement to the side of the current bridge. During the summer traffic to Sandy Hook is horrible, however I don’t think making the bridge bigger is going to help that. Traffic will still continue to back up on 36 in both directions heading to the beach. I guess the next step would be to expand Route 36 into a 6 or 8 lane highway. But what happens to bike baths and to the retaining walls?  Plus traffic is not bad from September until the end of May. I know that there are people who want to expand Sandy Hook and Seabright but why does it have to be at the expense of the area around the bridge. Why build an eyesore that will forever change the look and feel of the area? Isn’t the beach and the beach communities what draw people to the area? Who wants to look at a bridge? This is a quaint beach front community that does not need a super highway bridge to handle beach traffic. I think the area should look at tolls for non-residents. NYC is considering a toll to cut down on vehicles and current tolls for NJ residents entering the city will go up in the next few months. I think the DOT and local communities can reach some sort of compromise.

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