By John Burton |
RUMSON — The U.S. Coast Guard is considering changes to the Rumson-Sea Bright bridge openings that may help improve traffic—but don’t expect any change for the remainder of this busy summer.
The Coast Guard, which has the final say over waterway transportation issues, is investigating whether to alter the openings for County Bridge S-32, built in 1950 and spanning the Shrewsbury River, connecting the two communities.
As has been the practice for a number of years, from May to September the Coast Guard opens the drawbridge for water traffic on the hour and half hour on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays; the remainder of the year the bridge is opened upon demand.
On the 30-minute schedule, however, vehicular traffic has been worsening in the last few years, acknowledged Rumson Mayor John Ekdahl. “But it peaked this summer,” with the traffic getting particularly bad, Ekdahl added.
Cars have sat idling, queued on Rumson Road, the county road leading up to the bridge, for multiple bridge openings. During the July 4 holiday weekend, “We had traffic backed up on Rumson Road all the way to Bingham Avenue,” a fair distance from the bridge, he observed.
And at that rate, Ekdahl added, “Being in that line, it takes you an hour to get into Sea Bright.”
Rumson Police Chief Scott Paterson said it would be fair to say the traffic this year has been one of the worst in recent memory. “The backups have been long and lengthy,” Paterson said.
That traffic is spilling over to residential neighborhoods, raising issues with homeowners, too, Ekdahl said.
In response, Rumson and Monmouth County officials and state Senator Joseph Kyrillos Jr. (R-13) approached the Coast Guard about adjusting the schedule, hoping it would alleviate some of the traffic pressure…