Point Pleasant Beach mayor: Route 35 Bridge construction delays hurt business, tourism

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POINT PLEASANT BEACH -

The mayor of a Jersey Shore community says that road work delays on a bridge connecting two towns is causing turmoil in the area.

The New Jersey Department of Transportation started construction months ago on the Route 35 Bridge, the bridge connecting Brielle and Point Pleasant Beach. But residents of the town say that since November workers have disappeared from the site.

“It was moving and all of a sudden now it’s not. And that’s not good. The businesses have looked at this closely…and they are trying to fight this as much as they can,” says Point Pleasant Beach Mayor Stephen Reid.

Officials say that the $6 million project is needed to make repairs. But the timing and potential delays are being called into question by many business owners, who say that the traffic and detours are causing them to lose money.

"To our legislatures, appropriate whatever funds you need to…get this done by April 1. Please help us out. Another bad year we cannot stand,” says Point Pleasant Beach hotel owner John Fernicola.

Mayor Reid says that he hopes that the project is completed before the summer at the shore.

“Tourism in New Jersey is a multibillion-dollar industry,” Reid says. “This is the heartbeat of tourism right here. Especially Jenkinson’s, the boardwalk, Point Pleasant Beach. Without people coming down, spending money, that's going to hurt the state taxes.”

The northbound side of the rehabilitation project is scheduled to wrap up by mid-May.

In a statement, the NJDOT says, "During the Stage 1 work on the northbound lanes, several beams were damaged, which has caused an interruption in work progress. NJDOT is in the process of evaluating the damage and is working with the contractor to design a repair at the contractor’s cost. A revised schedule is currently being developed to include all four lanes (two southbound and two northbound) to be re-opened during the summer season from May 15, 2019 to September 15, 2019."

The statement continued, "Work will resume in the fall. Once completed, the Route 35 Bridge will have a 30 year lifespan opposed to a ten year lifespan.”

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