RUMSON — Things are looking good on the Oceanic Bridge construction project, thanks in large part to the very mild winter weather. So good, in fact, that a county freeholder is predicting a likely completion date a little earlier than first anticipated.
“We are definitely on a better track for completion,” Monmouth County Freeholder Thomas Arnone said on Wednesday.
The county drawbridge has been closed since October undergoing much-needed repairs to its malfunctioning bascule span and other work.
That project, officials have projected would be completed by Memorial Day weekend, to accommodate summer traffic. When the project timeline was being drafted, those working on the project had included two additional weeks to account for bad weather.
Given that, “Things are much better than we probably anticipated because of the way the weather has been,” Arnone said. “Because of the weather we would be able to increase our days with the completion of the project a little earlier.”
Arnone, though, is keeping his fingers crossed. “But anything can happen. It’s almost like a jinx,” to offer a prediction, he warned.
Arnone is the member of the freeholder board who oversees the Public Works and Engineering, and this week he said the bridge project has been going “absolutely fabulous.”
“They did things I think were not expected to be done,” this time of year, he said. “It’s very encouraging.”
“Thank you. I appreciate that,” said Marylouise van der Wilden, when informed of the news.
She owns and operates Le Papillion, a clothing and accessories boutique, 7 West River Road, and acknowledged the bridge’s closure has had more of an impact on her business than she first thought.
“We definitely noticed a big difference,” van der Wilden said. “We had people call and say, ‘I’d like to come over but it’s just out of the way.’”
“I know the negative impact on the businesses over there and the detriment to the businesses not having that bridge open,” Arnone said. “I couldn’t be more excited or pleased the way things went this winter.”