In 2012, work was completed on a $400 million project to replace the Route 52 Causeway bridges and the roadway sections between Somers Point and Ocean City. This was one of NJDOT’s largest projects and the largest in the SJTPO region, and is critical because Route 52 is the emergency evacuation route for Ocean City. The new causeway has served as a major regional travel route for bicyclists and pedestrians, with over 100,000 crossing the bridge as of March 2015.
The final project included two high fixed spans over Ship Channel and Beach Thorofare (Intracoastal Waterway), and a touchdown on Rainbow Island. The Ocean City Visitors Center was reconstructed as part of the new bridge’s Scenic Overlook. Other
amenities include boat ramps, fishing piers, parking lots, and walkways. The project also features a 10-foot wide paved multi-use path that extends the full length of the project. The walkway connects the Visitors Center and fishing areas along the bridge to other bicycle and pedestrian facilities in Somers Point and Ocean City.
In July of 2014, NJDOT installed a permanent counter that is designed to collect bicycle and pedestrian usage data to assess how well the trail was being used. The sensor used allows the counter to continuously detect and differentiate between pedestrians and cyclists, and record each mode by direction.
As of March 31st, 101,679 pedestrians and cyclists were counted crossing the Route 52 Causeway, with an average of 408 users per day. About 64% (64,967) were pedestrians and 36% (36,712) were cyclists. The largest single day volume (2,644 people) occurred during the Night in Venice Boat Parade, with 817 people counted using the path between 6:30 and 9:30 pm.