Good news if you're heading across Route 72 as the center median u-turn on Cedar Bonnet Island is finished and open two weeks ahead of schedule.

New Jersey Department of Transportation officials announced the news as the Route 72 Manahawkin Bay Bridges project advances.

NJDOT's contractor, George Harms Construction Co., completed restriping and barrier removal to reopen the left lane in each direction between the main Causeway Bridges and the West Thorofare Bridges and also reopened the center median U-turn on Cedar Bonnet Island.

The U-turn near the Edwin B. Forsythe National Wildlife Refuge Environmental Trail between the main Causeway Bridges and the West Thorofare Bridges had been closed for drainage work since February.

The U-turns may be closed weekdays, Monday through Friday from 7:00 am to 3:30 pm, to allow for the watering of new plantings along the upper perimeter of the drainage basins for the next two months.

The U-turns will be open on weekends and nightly.

You will also be able to utilize the entire length of the sidewalk from Stafford across the bridges to Ship Bottom once barriers have been placed in the next week or so.

The barriers will create a safe walking area in the section where the permanent sidewalk needs to be completed on Cedar Bonnet Island.

The DOT anticipates that the remaining section of the sidewalk should be completed by the end of the summer.

The temporary shuttle service that has been in place to accommodate pedestrians will soon be discontinued.

Work on the $312 million Route 72/Manahawkin Bay Bridge project began in 2013 and is expected to continue through 2021.

The 3-mile long causeway links Stafford on the mainland with Ship Bottom on Long Beach Island.

As part of the project, a new bridge has been constructed parallel to the existing one over Manahawkin Bay, providing the safety of a redundant route on or off the island.

The new bridge is carrying two lanes of eastbound traffic, while the rehabilitated original bridge is carrying two lanes of westbound traffic.

The precise timing of the work is subject to change due to weather or other factors.

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