STAFFORD - Senator Christopher J. Connors, Assemblyman Brian E. Rumpf and Assemblywoman DiAnne C. Gove today joined in a celebration of the successful completion of the reconstruction of the Old Causeway Bridge and the rehabilitation of Hilliards Thorofare Bridge – part of the Route 72 Manahawkin Bay Bridges project, by marking the historic occasion with a ribbon cutting ceremony led by NJDOT Commissioner Diane Gutierrez-Scaccetti.

Connors, Rumpf and Gove made the following remarks regarding the significant announcement:

“This project is a long time coming for many Ocean County residents and tourists, especially those living on Long Beach Island for whom the Causeway is the only means of egress and ingress to and from the mainland.

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“More than a decade ago, our Delegation introduced legislation, at the request of a former NJDOT Commissioner, to appropriate $150 million to get the Route 72 Causeway Bridges Project moving. The catastrophic damage caused by Superstorm Sandy underscored, in graphic detail, how the Causeway is a critical infrastructure lifeline, especially in the event that a coastal evacuation order is issued.

“On a lighter note, the Causeway Bridge also represents the gateway to one of New Jersey’s most cherished and popular vacation destinations along the Jersey Shore: Long Beach Island. The Project represents a wise investment and sound use of transportation funding – that Ocean County is more than deserving of – as the Causeway Bridge is instrumental in our efforts to grow New Jersey’s economy and tourism industry.

“We’d be remiss if we did not acknowledge and commend all of the engineers and workers associated with this project. These people demonstrated incredible workmanship, professionalism, dedication, as well as a strong commitment to safety and resourcefulness.

“With any major infrastructure project, there will be contentious moments, as even with the best planning, road work and construction always create headaches for commuters, businesses, local officials, law enforcement and emergency services personnel. That being said, in our experience, the staff and contractors associated with NJDOT always took concerns seriously, were always available to answer questions, and worked diligently to avoid any disruptions or traffic delays in order to serve the public interest to the best of their ability.

“The Project is truly a remarkable engineering achievement – one that our area should be very proud of. We are grateful to all who made it possible.”