If you've ever decided that, after a fun time in Seaside, you may want to come home, you probably have the Tunney bridge to thank.
The J. Stanley Tunney Bridge was constructed beginning March 29, 1970, to carry westbound traffic into Toms River from Seaside Heights and points on the Barnegat peninsula.
Previously, traffic in both directions had its shorter span, the Thomas A. Mathis Bridge, carrying vehicles except when its drawbridge was open. In 1970, the Tunney bridge opened for westbound traffic, doubling the capacity along the state highway over the Barnegat Bay.
The lanes are also a bit more spacious than the eastbound ones on the Mathis. It's a total of 530 feet long, hopping through areas governed by Seaside Heights, Berkeley Township and Toms River. Yet, tending to potholes or overseeing renovation is the purview of the state Department of Transportation, since Route 37 is a state highway.
And, being tall enough to accommodate the ships transversing the bay and being sans drawbridge, it's a non-stop jaunt from Pelican Island to East Dover. That is, unless you're stuck in Sunday traffic from tourists leaving their Seaside summer behind for the commute home.
The J. Stanley Tunney Bridge began construction March 29, 1970 — today in Toms River's history.