CREST HAVEN - Freeholders (their title will change to County Commissioners Jan. 1, per legislation signed Aug. 14 by the governor) approved a 15-year comprehensive bridge replacement and improvement plan Aug. 25. The document (http://bit.ly/CMCBridgePlan) is the culmination of a group effort that included the Engineer's Office, Planning Department, Bridge Commission, and Purchasing.
The idea behind the two-year project was to identify and prioritize improvements needed or replacements on the 23 county-owned bridges and five commission-owned spans. No funds were set aside since it will be determined in the future which bridges will require repairs or replacing.
Freeholder Will Morey told the board that, among others, Brittany Smith, county treasurer, Purchasing Agent Kevin Lare, and Leon Costello "helped to lay the groundwork for this comprehensive financial plan."
Morey also cited the "county residents" who had "been really focused on the need for this infrastructure plan."
"These bridges are gigantically important to the health and safety and economic welfare of (the county)," he said.
Further, Morey said it was "really important" that the plan is in place "before we have additional problems with bridges."
One of the major bridge replacement projects still on the drawing board is for the Middle Thorofare Bridge, which links the Wildwoods and Lower Township along Ocean Drive.
The plan gives an overview of each bridge’s condition and their needs. It also provides an estimate of the construction costs of specified work following current bridge design contracts, conceptual planned bridges, and cost estimates of recommended work.
The statement on the resolution concludes that the plan is a "systematic plan forward."
Any funding allocation "will be discussed and authorized on a case-by-case basis" by the board, the resolution states.
Quick takeaways from the meeting:
- A tow-away zone was approved along Commonwealth Avenue (CR 619), in Strathmere, from Putnam Avenue south to the Sea Isle City border on the west side of the highway. Upper Township and New Jersey State Police sought such a document to enforce the narrow area where vehicles, pedestrians, and bicyclists converge.
- Girl and Boy Scout troops needing a place to meet can contact the Cape May County Park office to reserve a pavilion, Freeholder E. Marie Hayes said. The action came after it was learned many troops could not meet due to COVID-19 indoor distance regulations.
- Freeholder meetings will continue to be held through September, via the internet at Microsoft Teams on the second and fourth Tuesdays. The public can visit the county website (http://bit.ly/CMCFreeholders) and click the caucus (3 p.m.) or regular meeting (4:30 p.m.) for access. Those with questions can type them, and the board will respond during the public portion of the meeting.
- The board appointed William Bailey as communications coordinator and William Szemcsak as deputy communications coordinator for the county Communications Support Group. Both have terms that expire Aug. 31, 2023.