County officials have targeted Oct. 1 as the earliest date that Hubbard Avenue, a casualty of Hurricane Irene's driving rains, could re-open to traffic.
'We're doing our best to get it open by then," Monmouth County Engineer Joseph Ettore said on Wednesday.
While workers from the county's contractor, Toms River-based Sambol Construction Corp. toil over the crater-like sinkhole that took out the county road's southbound lane, Ettore thanked township officials and area residents for their patience while repairs continue.
Sambol submitted the lowest of three emergency bids to the Monmouth County Board of Chosen Freeholders at $491,000 and has worked for the county government on other projects, Ettore said.
Before the barriers preventing traffic from entering the site can be taken down, Sambol will need to refill the eroded soil under the road, resurface the pavement and paint new lines, secure the retaining wall, and install a new guard rail, according to Freeholder John Curley, the liasion to the county's Department of Public Works and Engineering.
"All of the soil under the roadway is eroded," said Curley, who lives in nearby Shadow Lake Village. "And we'll have to reconstruct a portion of the retaining wall."
New Jersey American Water Company has fixed most of the damage to an underground water main by installing two valves on both the bridge and , Ettore said.
Although a section of the main was removed last week, the water company has placed a "redundant line" to ensure that service continues to flow to area households, businesses, and hydrants, the county engineer explained.
"The removal of a segment of the water line does not affect the pressure or overall service to the area," Ettore said.
The steady, heavy rains from Hurricane Irene that overtopped Shadow Lake's spillway and earthen embankments are to blame for most of the damage, not a failure of the dam itself, Ettore pointed out.
"There was so much more water than the spillway was designed to hold," Ettore said. "It was so much that it overtopped not only the spillway, but also the roadway.
"The dam didn't fail. The integrity of the dam itself was maintained," he continued. "The overtopping caused the erosion of the earth supporting the roadway. Then what failed was the asphalt pavement on the road."
Ettore acknowledged Curley and the state Department of Environmental Protection's Bureau of Dam Safety for their efforts in expediting reconstruction.
Re-opening Hubbard Avenue — which is the most direct route from the township's River Plaza section to its elementary school, and — as quickly as possible has been a priority for county leaders, Curley said.
With schools now open, getting Hubbard Avenue back on line is even more urgent said Curley who estimated the total fixing time for project at about "two to three weeks."
The prospect of Hubbard Avenue re-opening by early October is good news for Township Administrator Anthony Mercantante, who has been monitoring the construction since the Aug. 27 hurricane triggered the damage.
"[The county] had initially said it would take closer to one to three months," Mercantante said. "That's pretty impressive if they can get it open that quickly."
Keeping the road closed and detouring traffic around the work site has probably enabled the county to expedite repairs, he noted.
"Surely it's an inconvenience to the residents," Mercantante said. "But it's too unsafe a situation. Keeping the road open would have made the work go slower."
on the Hubbard Avenue closure.