Thomas A. Mathis and J. Stanley Tunney Bridges
|Thomas A. Mathis Bridge
J. Stanley Tunney Bridge
|Official name||Thomas A. Mathis Bridge (eastbound)
J. Stanley Tunney Bridge (westbound)
|Carries||6 lanes of Route 37|
|Crosses||Barnegat Bay with crossing through Pelican Island|
|Locale||Toms River, New Jersey and Seaside Heights, New Jersey|
|Design||Twin beam bridges; bascule bridge (eastbound)|
|Total length||530 ft|
|Longest span||170 ft|
|Opened||1950 (Thomas A. Mathis Bridge, eastbound)
1972 (J. Stanley Tunney Bridge, westbound)
The Thomas A. Mathis Bridge and J. Stanley Tunney Bridge are a pair of bridges that span Barnegat Bay in Ocean County, New Jersey, connecting Route 37 in Toms River with Pelican Island and communities along the Jersey Shore on the Barnegat Peninsula. The bridges pass through Toms River Township and a small piece of Berkeley Township, before ending at Route 35 in Seaside Heights.
The Thomas A. Mathis Bridge was completed in 1950 to replace a narrow wooden bridge that had served as the only connection between the mainland and the shore. It is a bascule bridge that allows ship traffic to pass under the bridge when it is raised.
The J. Stanley Tunney Bridge was completed in 1972 to carry westbound traffic, while the Mathis bridge was dedicated for vehicles traveling eastbound. The Tunney Bridge is a high level girder bridge that was designed to allow tall ships to pass under it without requiring a bridge opening. Although both bridges have three lanes, those on the Tunney Bridge are wider. Because Route 37 is one of a few links to the barrier island beaches, the bridge and the entire highway are routinely jammed with both local and tourist traffic throughout the summer months.
As of November 1, 2012, the Mathis Bridge was deemed to have sustained damage to the bridge bearings and will have to be repaired following the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy which hit the eastern seaboard on October 29, 2012. Both spans have been deemed safe for operation by the DOT despite many rumors to the contrary.
- Article on the safety of the spans following Hurricane Sandy
- An enlarged view of road jurisdiction on NJ 35 and NJ 37 at the eastern ends of the Mathis / Tunney Bridges
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