Plans to renovate Monmouth County bridge concern residents
Monmouth County residents were given a look at possible plans to renovate an 80-year-old bridge that connects Avon-by-the-Sea to Belmar.
Officials say regular maintenance on the Main Street Bridge can no longer cut it, so they say a permanent fix is needed. The bridge has badly deteriorated and also suffered damage during Superstorm Sandy.
But residents say that they are concerned about how the renovation will affect traffic, area businesses and quality of life.
“A lot of businesses feed off of one another,” says Deep Water Landing marina owner Evan Sproviero. “If [customers] can’t get to one business it impacts all businesses on Main Street.”
Sproviero and other business owners say that they fear that any type of construction will drive residents and tourists away, especially during the summer months.
“During the summertime this would be a nightmare in terms of traffic,” says Belmar Mayor Brian Magovern. “Having the traffic being detoured to Ocean Avenue or to Highway 35. Especially on busy July or August days.”
Residents also say that they are concerned about the potential height of a new bridge. They say that they do not want to see a bridge as high as the Route 35 Bridge.
“It would impact residents’ lifestyles. Business in both towns would be impacted,” says Avon-by-the-Sea Mayor John Magrini. “And just the visual part of having a bridge that high in a small community would be a negative.”
Department of Transportation officials held an information meeting about the bridge Tuesday evening. Plans for the renovation are in the very early concepts. Officials say that actual construction may not start for at least five years.
Another meeting is scheduled in June.