Monmouth County officials have appealed FEMA’s decision not to fund the replacement of the Bray Avenue bridge after it received substantial damage from Superstorm Sandy’s flood waters.
A tidal surge created by the October 2012 storm overtopped the bridge, causing deterioration to advance at the structure which spans Pews Creek in Port Monmouth, officials said. Since January 2013, safety concerns caused officials to close the 60 year old bridge to motor vehicle traffic, meaning detours and delays for those traveling between Main Street and Thompson Avenue.
“The County understands the inconvenience that this closure has on the motoring public in the area,” said Freeholder Thomas A. Arnone, liaison to the county Department of Public Works and Engineering, in a statement. “Residents, businesses and the county have been living with this for the past 15 months. We look forward to FEMA’s reconsideration of this funding and helping Monmouth County move forward with this project.”
Officials from Monmouth County and FEMA met last June to discuss replacing the bridge, but the federal agency denied funding, according to Arnone. Work in preparation of replacing the bridge, including relocation of utilities and permit acquisition are underway.
“In the meantime, the county is working to relocate utilities which must be moved in advance of the bridge reconstruction,” said county Engineer Joseph Ettore in a statement. “Gas, water, electric and cable facilities from the bridge have either been moved or are scheduled to be moved soon.”Officials did not disclose any information on the expected cost of replacing the bridge, though they noted that Sandy has “placed an enormous burden on the county’s financial resources.”