State officials announced a $350 million project that will rehabilitate the causeway bridge that connects Manahwkin to Long Beach Island.
“The Manahawkin Bay Causeway project exemplifies what we are aiming for when it comes to rebuilding in the aftermath of Superstorm Sandy – moving quickly to restore what was lost and to do so in a manner that will be stronger, more lasting, and better serve our residents,” said Acting Governor Kim Guadagno, in a prepared statement. “Our objective throughout the state is to not merely replace what was damaged, but to build it better and stronger. That can mean a different design, construction method or some other element that builds in resiliency, protects our investments and preserves mobility and public safety.”
The project will include building a new bridge parallel to the existing one while making improvements on the current bridge.
“Long Beach Island is an iconic Jersey Shore vacation destination that brings enjoyment to hundreds of thousands of residents and visitors every summer,” said NJDOT Commissioner Jim Simpson, in the statement. “Our investment in this project will strengthen the causeway’s critical role as the only Coastal Evacuation Route for Long Beach Island. It will enhance safe and convenient access not just for motorists, but for all users of the roadway.”
Commissioner Simpson noted that other amenities will provide recreational opportunities along the causeway, which touches down on four small islands – Mallard Island, an unnamed man-made island, Bonnet Island and Cedar Bonnet Island – between Stafford and Ship Bottom.
Six parking lots are slated to be built along the causeway, providing access for walking, fishing or crabbing. The project also calls for improvements to the Edwin B. Forsythe National Wildlife Refuge on Bonnet Island.
The work may be completed by 2020.