By Monmouth County Freeholder Tom Arnone
Personally, I was very pleased to see nearly 1,000 shoppers stopped by our annual Mini Made in Monmouth last weekend at Covered Bridge in Manalapan. A spinoff of our widely popular Made in Monmouth event held each spring at Monmouth University, this smaller version featured 80 small business owners selling their locally made products and goods. It is truly a win-win for all involved – small business owners receive the support they need and shoppers can purchase so many great items right in time for the holidays.
In keeping with the Grow Monmouth theme, I would also like to remind everyone of our online searchable directory where local Christmas tree farms are listed. This online searchable directory is a tremendous resource to utilize throughout the year. In addition to listing Christmas tree farms, consumers can also use this tool to find locally grown produce and pick-your-own locations. For more information and to view the online directory, visit www.growninmonmouth.com.
Switching gears to another department I oversee, I would like to discuss the rehabilitation of the East End Avenue Bridge, located between Neptune Township and Neptune City. I am pleased to announce the project is still on schedule on open by May 25, 2018.
The scope of the project includes, but is not limited to, the installation of a steel sheet pile wall in front of the existing timber bulkhead, concrete deck repairs, a bridge sidewalk replacement, a bridge railing upgrade, decorative pedestrian lighting with architectural treatment and resurfacing, as well as upgrades to the guide rail and bridge railing. The bridge has been closed to vehicular traffic during the work but remains open to pedestrian traffic.
As I have mentioned before, this $3.7 million project will receive 92% of its funding through the New Jersey State Transportation Trust Fund, with the remainder of funding coming from the County, at no cost to the municipalities. I, along with my fellow Freeholders, assure everyone this bridge will be a tremendous improvement to the entrances of Shark River Hills and Neptune City.
As such, the County’s engineering department will continue to coordinate with the Neptune City and Neptune Township police departments to monitor and adjust traffic conditions associated with the detour currently in place.
I would also like to give a brief update on the second phase of the Shark River dredging project. To date, the entire project remains on track to be completed by next spring. The actual dredging process of the project remains on schedule to be completed by the end of this year.
The County’s engineering department will continue to independently monitor the site conditions to minimize inconvenience and disruptions to the residents of the Seaview Island and the traveling public.
As always, I would like to say that it is an absolute pleasure and honor to serve as a Freeholder in Monmouth County.