A project that began three-years ago and has been a major inconvenience for drivers heading over the Mathis Bridge into Seaside Heights and the various other locations will again re-open before Memorial Day with the completion of construction work.

As recently as October of 2017 the NJ-DOT was on target to finish the work by the spring of 2018 and here we are, (even though it hasn't felt like spring outside).

County Officials say the bridge has been closed since May while state contractors replaced the span’s 65-year-old deck.

“We are very pleased to learn that after months of work the bridge will be open before the start of the summer tourism season,” Freeholder Director Gerry P. Little said. “We thank Governor Phil Murphy and the state Department of Transportation for their efforts to ensure the Mathis Bridge will be open and ready for the summer."

The good news is through the summer months that fill Ocean County roads with extra traffic during the tourism season, is that the bridge will be open and we now only need to worry about leaving early enough to beat the rush.

“Many of those visitors come right off the Parkway, onto Route 37 and across the bridge to the ocean and bay,” Vicari said. “Governor Murphy understands, as we do, the importance of the tourism season not just to Ocean County’s economy, but to the economy of the entire state,” Vicari said.

Now the Freeholder's are beefing up their focus and efforts on the eye-sore greeting drivers in Toms River on a daily basis and that is the project running along Routes 37 and 166.

The Freeholders continue urging Governor Murphy to help get this project moving more quickly that's taking place on a road that will start to fill with even more Shore traffic come Memorial Day weekend.

“This project was supposed to have been completed by now,” Little said. “While we understand that the majority of delays occurred prior to Governor Murphy taking office, we would ask that he do all he can to expedite the work.”

The DOT is estimating that the work may not be finished until sometime next year which isn't sitting well with Freeholder Vicari either.

“Enough is enough,” Vicari said in a recent letter to Murphy. “This project impedes the flow of traffic through one of the busiest areas of Toms River and we cannot wait until 2019 to see this work completed.”

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