Funding approved for replacement of bridge over Pews Creek
MIDDLETOWN, NJ – Monmouth County was informed that it would be receiving a $2 million reimbursement from Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) for the replacement of Bray Avenue Bridge (MT-2) over Pews Creek in the Port Monmouth section of Middletown.
The $2,006,208 allocation represents a 90 percent reimbursement for the rebuilding of the bridge that has been closed since the tidal surge created by Superstorm Sandy overtopped the bridge and advanced the deteriorating condition of the bridge significantly.
“Residents and commuters in the Port Monmouth area will be glad to hear this news,” said Freeholder Thomas A. Arnone. “With the financing in place, the County’s Public Works and Engineering staff can now shift gears and move the Bray Avenue Bridge replacement project forward.”
Monmouth County plans to authorize the receipt of bids for the construction of the replacement Bay Avenue Bridge this spring, award a contract for construction this summer and have a contractor begin construction in the fall. A new Bray Avenue Bridge could be open for summer of 2016.
“The two million dollar reimbursement announcement is great news for the County because our original request was denied by FEMA,” said Sheriff Shaun Golden. “By shepherding the appeal process, the Sheriff’s Office of Emergency Management (OEM) worked with the New Jersey State Police Office of Emergency Management/Public Assistance Unit on the review and the approval of documents before resubmission to FEMA.”
Any FEMA reimbursement that exceeds $1 million must have a Congressional hearing before the funds may be released. Congressmen Chris Smith and Frank Pallone notified the County about the release of the funds late Monday.
“Persistence and detailed paperwork by County OEM and Engineering staff contributed to the FEMA approval and subsequent Congressional release of these funds,” said Freeholder Deputy Director DiMaso, liaison to OEM. “We sought federal funding to help defray the expense of replacing the damaged bridge; as it did to our residents and businesses, the natural disaster named Sandy placed an enormous burden on the County’s financial resources.”
“Superstorm Sandy was an ‘all hands on deck’ operation,” said Freeholder Director Gary J. Rich, Sr. “Our reimbursement efforts have been ‘all hands on deck’ as well; I commend our staff for staying the course and being able to document what was needed to secure these reimbursements.”
Congressman Smith met with County and Middletown officials at the Bray Avenue Bridge last November.
Monmouth County officials met with FEMA officials in June 2013 to discuss details and provide repair and replacement estimates on the Bray Avenue Bridge.
Inspections of the bridge following the October 2012 storm, lead to the closing of the bridge.