The $4.8 million construction project on Longport's John F. Kennedy Memorial Bridge is set to begin in earnest right after Labor Day, but preliminary work by the contractor, causing alternating lanes of traffic, will begin Monday. August 5th.

Repairs to the  50-year-old bridge are expected to extend its life by another 25 years, according to an Atlantic County spokesperson.

The original plan to close the bridge in both directions for an extended period of time was scrapped after objections by officials from Longport and Somers Point.  Now an alternating traffic pattern will be in effect during the project, which is expected to be complete by Memorial Day 2014.

Here is Wednesday's press release from Atlantic County concerning the Longport Bridge project.

Effective July 31, Driscoll Construction Co., Inc. will begin mobilizing equipment and resources for Atlantic County’s $4.825 million rehabilitation of the John F. Kennedy Memorial Bridge between Longport and the Seaview Harbor section of Egg Harbor Township.

Mobilization efforts will be confined to the shoulder of the roadway, County Route 629 over Risley Channel, and will not impact traffic at this time.

The following week, however, alternating lanes will be in effect on Monday, August 5 through Thursday, August 8, between 7 AM and 4 PM each day, to allow the contractor to set up a work platform underneath the bridge and to begin its initial field measurements.

The county received approval from officials in Longport and Egg Harbor Township to accommodate the contractor’s request. Both town’s police departments will provide traffic directors to assist motorists.

The alternating lane traffic pattern will end as of 4 PM on Thursday, August 8 and no further roadway work will take place until after the Labor Day holiday in early September.

At a February 5, 2013 Atlantic County freeholders meeting held in Longport, residents resoundingly voiced their preference for the bridge to remain open throughout construction rather than have a full closure of the bridge with an 18.5-mile detour through Ventnor, Route 40 and Route 9 or a 12-mile detour using the toll road into Margate.

Construction is scheduled to take place Monday through Friday, during the offseason when traffic volume is about 50 percent less than in the summer months.

Repairs to the 50-year old bridge’s concrete deck will include installing a sealer overlay, adding all new deck joints, repairing the structural steel in the main span, repairing the piles, and restoring the capacity of the I-beams using carbon fiber wrap. The repairs are expected to extend the structure’s longevity by another 25 years. If the bridge were to be replaced, it would be out of service for as long as three years and could cost four or five times more than its less than one-year rehabilitation.