The long awaited repairs to the Route 33 bridge in Hightstown should be complete by the end of 2012, according to the New Jersey Department of Transportation.
The repairs were necessiated by the heavy rain of Hurricane Irene in 2011, which caused the bridge sidewall to buckle allowing water to flood the downtown area. The protective wall on the bridge had to be reconstructed with repairs to the sidewalk along Route 33.
There are also drainage improvements slated for each side of the bridge. In addition, the roads on a small section leading up to the bridge needed to be repaved.
The $655,000 repair project was delayed following the discovery an underground oil tank, the removal of which was not originally included in the construction schedule.
"Our contractor is working overnight this week to remove an underground oil tank discovered during earlier construction," said DOT spokesman Tim Greeley. "That work will be followed by the remaining installation of the drainage items stopped by the discovery of the tank."
The drainage improvements are set to continue into next week, which will be followed by repairs to the curb and sidewalk. The week of Dec. 10 will include final milling, paving and striping work.
"All of this work is being done overnight with a single lane closure, maintaining one travel lane in each direction at all times," Greeley said. "We expect to reach substantial completion of the project by the end of the year."