UPDATED 5/26: The Navesink River Road Bridge will be open to traffic starting the Saturday afternoon of Memorial Day weekend, Monmouth County Board of Commissioners Director Tom Arnone said.

The road and bridge will be open to vehicular traffic using temporary traffic signals controlling one direction of travel at a time, he said.

UPDATED 5/7: The last time Navesink River Road (County Route 12A) in Middletown was open to traffic was back in the summer of 2021. That opening was done to minimize disruptions during the busy summer season at the Jersey Shore.

Prior to that, the road was closed both completely and partially for work to replace the aging McClees Creek bridge. The project, however, experienced unexpected setbacks last year which caused construction on the new bridge to be delayed.

Since last fall, Navesink River Road has been completely closed to traffic at the bridge crossing. Since then, there haven't been many updates regarding this project other than the road remaining closed.

On top of this, there's also been water main work happening on River Road, which runs through Rumson, Fair Haven and Red Bank. Normally, River Road would serve as an alternate route for commuters in the area, but with road work happening there as well, traffic has been nothing short but longer and heavier than normal for many.

River Road and Navesink River Rd both highlighted in yellow. Both serve as backup routes to one another for commuters.
River Road (bottom highlight) and Navesink River Rd (top highlight). Both serve as backup routes to one another for commuters but have had interruptions at the same time due to road closures and delays. Photo credit: Google Maps

And it's not just those who regularly travel to this area or rely on it for their daily commute. Displaced traffic due to these closures have been causing increased delays in other parts of the area. One such spot is Chapel Hill Road, which intersects with Route 35 in Middletown north of Navesink River Road.

This has especially caused headaches for those who regularly use interchange 109 for the Garden State Parkway. Navesink River Road has long been a major commuting route in the area for those who use the Garden State Parkway, and the McClees Creek Bridge replacement has certainly made it harder for those trying to access that particular interchange.

Although most acknowledge the need to replace the aging bridge as critical, many are anxious for this project to finally be complete. And with unexpected delays hitting the project last year, many are wondering when the roadway might actually be open once again?

Road work at the McClees Bridge on Navesink River Rd in Middletown, NJ
Google Maps

So far, the timetable that was set last fall hasn't changed. According to visitmonmouth.com's Monmouth County Division of Engineering page, "The road closure and detour are expected to remain in place until late Spring 2022 when the bridgework is scheduled to be completed."

However, it does appear the roadway may be open for the unofficial start of the summer season. According to The Monmouth Journal, Monmouth County Commissioner Director Tom Arnone said he anticipates Navesink River Road "to be open by Memorial Day weekend."

Detour sign at the Route 35 and Navesink River Road in Middletown, NJ
Google Maps

So for now, it looks like those who rely on this particular stretch of the road won't be inconvenienced too much longer. Detours will hopefully be removed and traffic flow on surrounding roadways should return to normal once again soon.

The bridge project at McClees Creek should be wrapping up in the near future, with a reopening anticipated just in time for the big summer kickoff.

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