Ship Bottom Plans Water, Sewer Work Before Causeway Project Final Phase

By Gina G. Scala | Oct 30, 2019

Ship Bottom — After six years of road work on the Causeway Bridge system to Long Beach Island, locals aren’t surprised by a sudden traffic pattern switch or a lane closure. But they might be surprised to learn that before the final phase of the $312 million federal project begins, Ship Bottom will undertake a nighttime water and sewer infrastructure project on Eighth and Ninth streets.

The local project isn’t the surprise; it’s been ongoing in other areas of the borough for nearly two years. What might be surprising, though, is that the project will be put out to bid as nighttime work to ease any traffic concerns on the barrier island. As the gateway to LBI, every motorist coming onto the Island must pass through Ship Bottom, and even in the offseason a traffic backup in the borough can wreak havoc.

Councilman Robert Butkus made the announcement during his monthly report as chairman of the water and sewer committee at last week’s council meeting. He also said Frank Little, borough engineer, was informed by state Department of Transportation officials that its final phase of the Causeway project has been delayed.

“They won’t go out to bid until June 2020,” Butkus said, “and won’t start until the fall 2020.”

In the meantime, the borough knows where “we can put our lines,” he said.

The borough is working in conjunction with the DOT on the infrastructure project, Kathleen Flanagan, borough coordinator and chief financial officer, said earlier this week.

“The timing has to be exact,” Flanagan said.

In 2017, state transportation officials announced plans to include a new drainage system comprised of underground gravity flow pipes. The pipes are anticipated to be installed along Eighth and Ninth streets from Long Beach Boulevard to the bay. In making the announcement, the DOT nixed a pump station originally planned as part of the Causeway project. State officials said the new system would direct runoff to two new, separate outfall locations, providing operational redundancy. If one location is backed up or malfunctions in any way, it would not cause the remaining outfall to flood. The proposed system would cost less to build and maintain, according to transportation officials.

Earlier this fall, state officials confirmed the final design of the Causeway project, which encompasses the reconfiguration of the Causeway circle into a square where Route 72, also known as Eighth and Ninth streets, intersects with Long Beach Boulevard, was expected to be completed this fall. The Arlington Beach Club condo complex marks the area in question. The work zone is located along the western property line of the complex and Long Beach Boulevard, the main thoroughfare on the Long Beach Island.

The work also will change the traffic flow on Central Avenue and Long Beach Boulevard. The DOT’s proposed improvements have long included converting a section of the Boulevard into a two-way road at the site of the Arlington Beach Club, once the site of a gas station.

Central Avenue is currently a one-way road southbound between Third and 11th streets before motorists come to the traffic circle. It’s this area that would be turned into a two-way street. Left turns at Central Avenue will be prohibited at the intersection with Eighth and Ninth streets. Other improvements to the roadways include widening the streets by 13 feet to provide for an additional lane of traffic, an additional 3 feet for the inside shoulder and a new 8-foot-wider shoulder, according to DOT officials.

Work on expanding and rehabbing the Causeway, the only access road on and off Long Beach Island, began in 2013.

The precise timing of the work is subject to change due to weather or other factors. Motorists are encouraged to check the DOT’s traffic information website, 511nj.org, for construction updates and real-time travel information, and for DOT news on Twitter @NJDOT_info.

— Gina G. Scala

ggscala@thesandpaper.net

 

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