Rt. 52 Causeway

Rt. 52 Causeway

Two-Stage Wall at Visitors Center
Reinforced Earth Precast MSE Retaining Wall
Somers Point, NJ
New Jersey Dept. of Transportation
George Harms Construction


Rt. 52 Bridge Replacement

The New Jersey Department of Transportation (NJDOT) began in Summer 2006 the first part of its $400 million project to replace the Route 52 Causeway bridges and the roadway section between Somers Point and Ocean City, with a 3-mile-long structure connecting these seaside communities. This was one of NJDOT's largest projects and considered critical because it is the emergency evacuation route for Ocean City, NJ.

Two fixed and two moveable bridges were replaced by two bridges that have two high fixed spans over Ship Channel and Beach Thorofare (Intracoastal Waterway) and a touchdown on Rainbow Island. The new roadway section will have two 12-foot lanes and 8-foot minimum outside shoulders in each direction separated by a concrete median barrier.  The gleaming concrete structure provides a multimodal link for motorists, bicyclists and pedestrians between the Jersey Shore destinations of Somers Point in Atlantic County and Ocean City in Cape May County.

Mechanically stabilized earth (MSE) precast retaining walls were required to support the elevated roadway above flood elevation where the infiltrating flood waters are expected to be brackish due to the bay’s proximity to the Atlantic Ocean.  Due to the presence of both sand and organic soil layers in the foundation soil profile typical for the New Jersey coast, settlements were anticipated to be on the order of about 9 inches to almost 2 feet.  For the areas of the highest anticipated settlements, two-stage walls were chosen for design, while single stage walls were used in areas with anticipated settlements up to 9 inches.  The Reinforced Earth Company was awarded the contract for design and supply of the MSE walls and precast barrier units for two phases of the contract. Both single stage and two-stage Reinforced Earth walls were designed for the bridge approach ramps on either sides of the bay as well as for a Visitor’s center located on an island in the middle of the bay.