Work to replace the North Cooks Bridge and the Jackson Mills Culvert in Jackson Township could begin by mid-summer.

“The work is expected to get underway in a few months,” said Freeholder Director John P. Kelly, who is liaison to the Ocean County Engineering Department. “With 259 bridges and culverts in Ocean County, it’s a priority for the Board of Freeholders to make certain they are properly maintained for motorists and pedestrians.”

The work to replace North Cooks Bridge is being recommended for advertisement at the request of the Office of the Ocean County Engineer.

The work will include replacing the existing 30 foot long bridge which is supported by timber piles and was constructed in 1959. It spans the South Branch of the Metedeconk River.

The new bridge will be a 40 foot long concrete bridge supported on steel piles.

“To accommodate pedestrians safely, the new bridge will also be wider to provide a sidewalk,” said Kelly, who serves as Director of Law and Public Safety.

The project will involve staged construction to allow for one northbound lane to be operational at all times while the southbound traffic will be diverted using a detour route. Construction is expected to take about nine months and could start by mid-summer.

Meanwhile, the Board of Freeholders is scheduled to award a contract to Earle Asphalt Company, Farmingdale, in the amount of $1.1 million to replace a 40-year-old culvert under Jackson Mills Road, Jackson Township. Construction is expected to begin by mid-summer and take about seven months to complete.

“This is a 40-year-old corrugated aluminum box culvert that carries a tributary of the South Branch of the Metedeconk River under Jackson Mills Road,” Kelly said. “In addition to replacing the culvert, the project includes new safety features resulting in a better roadway for our motorists.”

The replacement culvert will be a precast concrete structure eight-feet high and 16-feet wide.        To increase motorist safety crossing the bridge, the pavement will be widened to 40 feet.

The approaching roadways will also be modified to meet the latest standards of the American Association of State and Highway Transportation Officials (AASHTO) in order to improve the sight and stopping distances.

“With more than 620 miles of county roads to maintain, it’s imperative each project we undertake provides safety improvements for our motorists and pedestrians,” Kelly said. “Safety on our roads is a priority of this Board of Freeholders.”

This project will also be done with staged construction in order to allow for continued traffic flow.