Frequently Asked Questions
The Rumson-Sea Bright Bridge was built in 1950 and is approaching 70 years old. Presently, it has structural and functional limitations that don’t meet today’s design standards. Due to its age, the bridge has deteriorated over time and routine maintenance can no longer address the deficiencies.
Age and deterioration, increased traffic volume and loads (weight of vehicles), and the potential for severe storms to disrupt normal operations are some of the reasons why this bridge no longer operates well and is in need of replacement if it is to continue to function and provide a viable crossing of the Shrewsbury River connecting the Borough of Rumson with the Borough of Sea Bright. Both Rumson Road (CR520) in Rumson and Ocean Avenue (State Route 36) in Sea Bright are identified as important roadways for the local communities and the region.
Age and Physical Condition. The bridge was built in 1950 and significant rehabilitation of the bridge was done in 2002 and 2013. Now it is beyond its serviceable life at nearly 70 years old. The bridge is in serious overall condition. The bridge is structurally deficient with its superstructure in poor physical condition with observed fatigue cracks found in numerous steel members and loss of section at panel point joints of most below deck truss members. The substructure is in satisfactory condition but has a moderate potentially vulnerability to scour. The bridge’s mechanical machinery and electrical system are in poor condition; reaching the end of their serviceable life.
Load Capacity. The bridge is inspected every two years. It has not been load posted to restrict weight capacity, however if the deterioration of the steel support members advances it may become necessary, if replacement is not implemented. The non-redundant design is fracture critical and existing components are overstressed under modern design loads.
Highway Safety. Parapets and railings do not meet current crash standards. Approach guide rails and bridge end treatments do not meet current design standards.
Public Safety. There is no intercommunication system for local communication, fire alarm system, aircraft warning lights or lighting protection for the control and gate houses.
Seismic. The bridge is susceptible to seismic forces and does not meet current seismic design standards.
Storms. Rumson Road (CR520) is an important route and the bridge maintains an essential transportation connection for the Rumson and Sea Bright communities as a vital link to and from each area for residents and businesses. The preliminary engineering design plans for the roadway and bridge improvements will allow for better traffic flow, shoulders for increased safety and emergency access, continuous sidewalk access from each side of the Shrewsbury River, and relief from storm-related issues for both communities and the County as a major coastal evacuation route.
A Local Concept Development (LCD) Study is the first phase of the Local Project Delivery Process for transportation improvements. A transportation problem has been identified, such as the Rumson-Sea Bright Bridge in such poor condition. It is the first step to bridge improvements. The County of Monmouth filed an application with the North Jersey Transportation Planning Authority (NJTPA) who oversees this phase of the project, known as Local Concept Development (LCD). During this phase a well-defined and well-justified Purpose and Need Statement was developed focusing on the need to improve safety and maintain the current crossing over the Shrewsbury River. The LCD Phase elements also included data collection; coordination with the New Jersey Department of Transportation (NJDOT), Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), community stakeholders, and permitting agencies; the development of a reasonable number of sensible and practical conceptual alternatives; the determination of a Preliminary Preferred Alternative (PPA), and to investigate all aspects of the project. These aspects included environmental, right of way, access, utilities, design, community involvement, constructability, and cost analysis. (See NJTPA LCD flowchart)
The following are the completed phases and the proposed schedule for construction:
LCD Project Schedule (Major Milestones Completed)
Develop Project Purpose and Need Statement May 2012
Development of Conceptual Alternatives July 2012
Selection of Preliminary Preferred Alternative November 2012
Submission of Draft Concept Development Report February 2013
Completion of Concept Development Phase April 2013
LPE Project Schedule (Major Milestones Completed)
Environmental Documentation Completed Fall 2016
Submission of Preliminary Engineering Report Fall 2016
Completion of Preliminary Engineering Phase Spring 2017
Final Design Project Schedule (Major Milestones Completed)
Environmental Documentation and Permits Spring 2020
Submission of Final Design Plans Spring 2020
Completion of Final Design Phase Summer 2020
Construction Project Schedule (Major Milestones Anticipated)
Award of Construction Contract Spring 2021
Start of Construction Field Activity Late Summer 2021
Completion of Construction Fall 2024
The Rumson Sea Bright Bridge is a movable double-leaf bascule bridge because of the double spans that open the river way for marine vessels to move up and down the Shrewsbury River:
- Bridge spans the Shrewsbury River connecting the Borough of Rumson and the Borough of Sea Bright.
- Year Built: 1950 (rehabilitation work in 2002 & 2013).
- Bridge type: double-leaf bascule bridge.
- Overall length: 661 feet.
- Bridge roadway width: 52’ – 5”.
- Bridge clearance in closed position: 15 feet (at MHW).
The LCD Study and engineering findings to date have revealed the following:
- Bridge in serious overall condition and is Structurally Deficient.
- Sufficiency Rating = 25.0 (out of 100).
- Superstructure in poor condition: Rating = 4 out of 10 (localized advanced material losses to steel truss members and to girders & floor beams.).
- Bridge may soon need to be load posted due to advancing deterioration of steel support members.
- Substructure is in poor condition.
- Bridge is scour critical.
- Bridge railings are substandard.
- Bridge operating machinery in overall fair condition but has no span lock system as required by AASHTO.
- Bridge electrical system in overall fair condition with many obsolete components (ex. manually operated barrier gates).
- Bridge opening duration (xx minutes) does not meet AASHTO standards (1 minute to both open and close).
- Bridge needs approximately $10 M in remedial repairs.
- Existing bridge cannot be widened due to bridge type.
The Study results determined that there is a need to widen the bridge. The existing bridge structure can not be widened however with the replacement, the new bridge structure will provide for shoulders as part of the improvements to address the project transportation needs and safety.
During the LCD Study phase, the project purpose and need for improvements for all modes of transportation were taken into consideration regarding the bridge: pedestrians, cyclists, transit, vehicular, and marine types of activity and access. The project team received input from the local officials and community stakeholders to understand what pedestrian and bicycle mobility and access is needed. Bike and pedestrians improvements are part of the final design plans, that can be viewed under Maps and Plans from the project website home page.
During the LCD Study and the Local Preliminary Engineering and Final Design Phases the bridge and roadway improvements were developed and with resolution of support by local and County officials, the bridge replacement was determined. The bridge and streetscape such as railing, lighting, signage and intersection traffic calming aspects were decided during the Final Design Phase. The County of Monmouth and cooperating agencies, will continue to share project information and seek community input on traffic staging during the Construction phase of the project.
The cost of the LCD Study was $500,000. The cost of the LPE Phase was $950,000. The cost of the Final Design Phase was $7.9 million. The LCD & PE phases were funded with Federal dollars. The FD Phase was funded with State dollars, to be reimbursed by the Federal government. The Construction cost is $107.5 million and is funded with Federal dollars.
The Dunkin Donuts adjacent to the bridge permanently closed in December 2020. The Project Team had hoped the building could remain standing along with the Dunkin Donuts. However, an engineering analysis revealed that the support system for the new bulkhead to be located on the property and encompassing the easterly bridge abutment required that the building will need to be demolished. The entire property including the building is necessary for the Rumson-Sea Bright Bridge replacement project. The replacement of this critical 70-year-old bridge on a costal evacuation route is necessary due to its age and condition. Monmouth County has followed all federal and state requirements for determining the scope of the work for the bridge replacement project. Monmouth County had attempted and continued to assist the owners of the Dunkin Donuts to find another location in Sea Bright. The property is now under the jurisdiction of Monmouth County who will maintain and secure the building until it is demolished during the construction of the new bridge.
Environmental resources that may influence the development of conceptual alternatives and design include wetlands, threatened and endangered species, aquatic life and submerged aquatic vegetation, noise and air quality, hazardous materials, archeology, historic buildings or structures and socioeconomic considerations.
NJTPA is administering the project, however the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) provides the funding. Any transportation projects receiving Federal funding must also follow the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) process. During the LCD Study, any environmental concerns were identified and an environmental profile was developed. When analyzing alternatives, one looks to avoid or minimize environmental impacts and if that’s not possible then to provide mitigation. The environmental resources include air, noise, hazardous or contaminated sites, parks, wetlands, water resources, social and economic impacts, and cultural resources such as historic structures and facilities.
The New Jersey Department of Transportation (NJDOT) Bureau of Environmental Resources (BEPR) oversees this aspect of the project in cooperation with NJTPA, and Monmouth County to coordinate with the permitting agencies such as NJDEP and NJSHPO (New Jersey State Historic Preservation Office) to develop a cohesive plan for proposed improvements. The agencies look carefully at comments from the public and thus community involvement is an important part of environmental process and moving the project forward with consensus and environmental compliance. The results of the environmental screening, were presented at the public meetings. The approved Purpose & Need Statement and documentation is important for the review agencies to work well with the project team in moving the project forward from the earlier phases into design and construction phases. Community involvement is an integral part of this process.
The primary task of stakeholders and engaging public opinion was to assist Monmouth County in the development of the proposed bridge and roadway improvements. The County and Project Team appreciated knowing how the local community uses the bridge, any current traffic problems and how the public would benefit from the final design plans for the bridge replacement and approach roadway improvements. Community Outreach during the planning stages was a vital part of the successful implementation of the transportation improvement delivery process and the Project Team will continue to encourage the community to follow, participate and ensure awareness and effective communication during the Construction phase of the project.
Public meetings are a good way to make your voice heard and insure a successful project further down the road. If you are unable to attend a meeting, you can keep tabs on new project developments by visiting this project website and reviewing the meeting reports and PowerPoint presentations. Naturally, coming out to an in-person public meeting or attending an online public meeting is the best way to stay involved and get your answers first hand with the project team present. However, if you still have questions we’ve made it easy for you to reach the Project Team and your County official directly by using the General Comment/Question Form.
Monmouth County, and the cooperating agencies of NJTPA and NJDOT, are committed to developing transportation improvements that best balance transportation needs, the environment, community concerns and cost. As part of the Community Outreach effort, numerous meetings were held during the planning and design development of the bridge replacement project. Community Outreach will continue during the construction phase using the project website for information exchange and a pre-construction Public Information Center (PIC) meeting to be held early in the Construction Phase. A PIC meeting notice will be distributed at least two weeks in advance, once a date is determined.
Monmouth County and the cooperating agencies of NJTPA and NJDOT, encourages community members to voice their concerns and contribute suggestions to the Project Team. To provide input, attend one of the public meetings or contact:
Joseph Ettore, P.E.
Monmouth County Engineer
Andrés Roda, P.E.
Monmouth County Project Manager
Monmouth County Division of Engineering
Hall of Records Annex, 1 East Main Street, 3rd Floor
Freehold, NJ 07728