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March 29, 1970: Tunney Bridge From Seaside

Route 37 westbound bridge is second of the pair of bridges connecting Toms River to barrier island, Seaside Heights.

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.

mindy August 14, 2011 at 05:27 PM
It was around in the late 1950's and probably pnly around for a few seasons, by 1961 I am sure it was long gone and the "developements" and a new school a summer era had begun and the land was more valuable for homes etc than a children's amusement park. There was also a place called deer park in Lakewood on rt 9 and countyline rd long before there was a county line rd and the deer roamed free and there were some other larger animals in cages.
Doug D March 16, 2012 at 01:15 AM
There was another railroad bridge between Good Luck Point in Berkeley and South Seaside Park.
Boo73 July 22, 2012 at 03:09 PM
When I was a kid I think I remember the Thomas A. Mathis Bridge having three lanes and the center lane would be changed from inbound to outbound depending on traffice load. I remember trafiic lights at intervals over the span and the center would change form green to red, or vice versa on opposite side, depending on traffic volume? This would have been before the new spand was built. Anyone?
ed crowley October 23, 2012 at 11:50 PM
Toms River drive in torn down 72 . I lived behind it on terrace. Bay Drive In was closed later.
Rick M May 23, 2013 at 10:56 PM
Hi, does anyone recall a miniature train ride existing at either the Bay Drive In, The Toms River Drive In, Wild West City or Deer Park? If so could you please post and describe it? I am trying to uncover the history of a 1950s era miniature train kiddie ride. It turned up about 1980 in a salvage yard in Brick, NJ, and was thought to have operated locally before it was scrapped. Thank you!

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