River Road to close for bridge reconstruction


Staff Writer

FAIR HAVEN — Business owners in the borough are worried about the effect the closing of River Road, due to bridge reconstruction, will have on their businesses.

The reconstruction of bridge S-53 on County Route 10, which is the small bridge that traverses Fourth Creek on River Road, is due to begin in early January or February, and is slated to last four months until the end of April.

Work on the bridge will close River Road between Hance Road and Fair Haven Road for a period of up to 90 days, according to Romeo Cascaes, public information director for Monmouth County.

A detour will direct drivers down Hance Road to Ridge Road to Fair Haven Road and back to River Road.

According to Cascaes, county Freeholders are expected to approve a resolution authorizing the receipt of bids for the reconstruction of the bridge.

The work to be performed includes the removal of the existing brick arch, the original date of which is unknown, and the construction of a new 54-inch reinforced concrete culvert pipe. The project also includes the reconstruction of 330 feet of River Road, including new curbs and sidewalks. The new concrete culvert head walls will be textured and colored to improve aesthetics.

The estimated project cost is $450,000 and is to be funded by the 1997 County Bridge Bond, according to the county.

Fair Haven business owners are concerned about the impact the road closure will have on their walk-in business and customer satisfaction.

Adding to their concern are circulating rumors that the road will be closed for a longer period; that it will be closed for the entire length of the River Road business district; and the closing will last beyond the projected late April completion date, according to Angela Delucca, owner of April’s Red Balloon located in the heart of the business district on River Road.

“Although I know it will be somewhat of an inconvenience,” said Delucca, “I hope people will still come to shop.”

Delucca, who opened her store this past September, said she is doing whatever she can to help minimize the inconvenience to her local, loyal customers. She has adopted some novel strategies to counteract the disruption to her business.

She has, in recent weeks, begun putting together a Web site which will contain images and descriptions of all of the items that are available in her store. She is almost finished with this project, and hopes this will help keep her customers happy.

“Local customers will be able to shop on the Web site and get free shipping during the construction,” she said.

Delucca said that although some businesses will unfortunately lose some parking spaces during the reconstruction of the bridge, she and her neighbors will have plenty of on-street parking and the parking lot will be open as well.

Delucca said that it will be business as usual for the business district during the holiday season. The annual Holiday Open House, scheduled for Dec. 3, which will include a tree-lighting, a visit from Santa Clause and live music, will go on as planned.

On Dec. 13, business owners are scheduled to meet with Mayor Joseph Szostak, members of the council, borough engineers and county representatives to discuss the possibility of pushing back the start date of the project.

According to Delucca, they believe a later start date will mean less bad weather days. If there are fewer days where work is slow due to weather events like a snowstorm, they theorize, the project could take less than four months to complete.