The New Jersey Department of Transportation will rebuild the bridge on Route 33 in Hightstown that was damaged during Hurricane Irene, with work expected to begin in early spring, officials said.
The bridge sidewall gave during the storm, causing several feet of water to flood the downtown.
“The work that we’re doing on the bridge is in response to the damage that was done during Hurricane Irene,” said DOT spokesman Tim Greeley.
The outside parapet, which is the protective wall on the bridge, will be reconstructed, repairs will be made to the sidewalk along Route 33, there will be some drainage improvements to each side of the bridge and the roads on a small section leading up to the bridge will be repaved, Greeley said.
Greeley also said that the state Historic Preservation Office, as well as Hightstown’s Historic Preservation Committee is aware of the proposed plan, and the parapets on the sides of the bridge will be reconstructed to resemble what already exists.
Contracts opened to bid on Jan. 5, and the state will accept bids until Jan. 26, Greeley said. Because the bidding process is open, Greeley could not discuss any cost estimates for the project.
“We can’t influence the bids from outside contractors,” Greeley said.
He also noted that since the project is a result of the storm, the state plans to apply for FEMA reimbursement.
The total construction project should take about three to four months, and car traffic through downtown shouldn’t be greatly affected because at least one lane in each direction will be open at all times, Greeley said. However, trucks will be detoured from downtown Hightstown.
“We’ll keep traffic flowing over the bridge and through Route 33 at all times during construction so the effects should be limited and that should be certainly a benefit for the motorists and businesses in that area,” Greeley said.
Westbound truck traffic on Route 33 and trucks exiting the turnpike at Exit 8 will be detoured on Route 133 west to Route 130 south, merging back onto Route 33 west in East Windsor, according to Greeley.
Trucks going east on Route 33 south of East Windsor will be detoured to Route 130 north, then to Route 133 east, then connecting to Route 33, Greeley said.
“It will be necessary to restrict truck traffic from the work zone because of construction site limitations,” Greeley wrote in an email Tuesday.
Hightstown Borough Council passed a resolution Dec. 19 supporting the truck detour the DOT proposed during the construction project.