A second bridge for LBI is possible
The horrendous crawling traffic between LBI and the Parkway can be alleviated to some degree by the addition of a second causeway.
With the rising popularity of automobiles, an automobile bridge was built in 1914. This was a wooden bridge with 2 lanes each way. Now, in 2019, with many more people, we still have 2 lanes each way.
The big issue is “Not in my backyard”. No one wants a bridge with the access roads on their street.
However, given the traffic snafus this summer, I can’t imagine how they can safely get everyone off the island in the event of an impending hurricane.
Looking at the map and satellite views, I do see one possibility. The Long Beach Township Park would be a potential site for the island side of the bridge.
- There are no houses between the boulevard and the water.
- That point is about 2.6 miles south of the current bridge.
- Route 9 and the Parkway can be reached with pretty much a straight line.
- The need for eminent domain of private houses would be minimal.
- It should be possible to make the connections to Route 9 and the Parkway with minimal disruption to the communities.
- The bridge could be built with 3 lanes each way.
Here is a satellite view of Bayview Park. I would think that it would provide enough space for entrance and exit ramps.
The mainland side could be connected just south of the Eagleswood Park. A causeway there should cause minimal environmental issues. Again, disruption to residences should be minimal.
There are few, if any homes between Route 9 and the Parkway where a connection could be made.
Of course, there are some obvious issues
- People living near the interchanges would most likely oppose the idea.
- The over water distance at that point would be far greater than the existing over water distance of the current causeway. However, places like the Florida keys have spanned these distances, albeit in a different climate.
- Environmentalists might object (I guess they’d rather have 40,000 corpses of people who couldn’t make it off the island rather than affect the mating habits of the puffer faced blue finned minnow).
- The Intracoastal waterway is very close to the island at this point. Hopefully the necessary inclines can be accommodated.
- There is sailboat traffic on the mainland side. There may be a need for another high span on that side of the bay.
Advantages would include
- An alternative bridge to alleviate normal traffic
- An alternative for emergency vehicles if the current bridge is impassible.
- An increase in the ability to evacuate people in the event of an emergency.
- Reduction in congestion between a the new and existing bridge for people leaving or entering the island. i. e. People who want to come on to the island heading for Beach Haven would not be travelling through Ship Bottom.
- The bridge could be designed so that high speed rail could be added in the future. It could also incorporate the infrastructure for self driving vehicles as is done in many new construction projects.