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Robert A Briant Sr. Memorial Bridge

Robert A Briant Sr. Memorial Bridge

Primary Photographer(s): Elaine Deutsch

Bridge Documented: 2016

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Facility Carried / Feature Intersected
NJ-71 Over Shark River
Belmar and Avon-by-the-Sea: Monmouth County, New Jersey: United States
Structure Type
Metal Deck Girder, Movable: Double Leaf Bascule (Fixed Trunnion) and Approach Spans: Metal Deck Girder, Fixed
Construction Date and Builder / Engineer
1932 By Builder/Contractor: Unknown and Engineer/Design: Ash, Howard, Needles, and Tammen of New York, New York
Rehabilitation Date
Main Span Length
90.0 Feet (27.4 Meters)
Structure Length
860.0 Feet (262.1 Meters)
Roadway Width
50 Feet (15.24 Meters)
1 Main Span(s) and 9 Approach Span(s)
Inventory Number

Historic Significance Rating (HSR)
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Bridge Documentation

View Archived National Bridge Inventory Report - Has Additional Details and Evaluation

View the patent for this historic bridge.

This bascule bridge is noted for its arched deck plate girder approach spans, which are encased in concrete, although the lower chords have had the concrete removed. It is also noted for its main bascule span, which is a fixed trunnion, but designed according to a patented design.

Information and Findings From New Jersey's Historic Bridge Inventory


The 10-span haunched deck girder bridge has a double-leaf bascule with fixed concrete counterweights main span. The approach spans are encased. The bascule is one of over 12 in southeast New Jersey from the 1920s and 1930s designed by the noted firm of Ash Howard Needles and Tammen. A representative example of the type, the span is altered with new reducers, motors, controls, locks, electrical systems, and remodeled operators houses. The alterations make the span less significant than others.


The movable bridge carries 4 lanes of traffic and two sidewalks over a navigable portion of the Shark River. The bridge is located between the beach resort towns of Avon-by-the-Sea and Belmar. The area is heavily developed with marinas, restaurants, stores, and late-19th to late-20th century seasonal and year-round homes and apartments.

Physical Description

The main span of the 860'-long 10-span bridge is a 90'-long double-leaf bascule. The two approach spans to the south and seven to the north are haunched deck multi girders on a concrete substructure. The bridge is finished with standard-design concrete balustrades, and the enclosures on the movable leafs are the same style executed in metal. Operators/machinery houses are set at each corner of the movable leafs. They have been remodeled with oversized metal pyramidal hip roofs and new metal windows and doors. The movable leafs are composed of four haunched girders with floor beams and an open steel grid deck. The bascule leafs have fixed counterweights at the tail ends. Each leaf is operated by a pinion that engages a rack affixed to the outside of the fascia girders. While the trunnions and trunnion towers are original, the motors, controls, electrical systems, back up operation, primary reducers, motor brakes, machinery brakes, and locks are all new. The secondary reducers are original as are the racks and pinions. The operators' and equipment houses have also been redone.

Historical and Technological Significance

The 1932 NJ 71 bascule bridge over the Shark River is an altered example of the most common post-1925 movable bridge type in southeast New Jersey. It is one of over 12 patented Ash-Howard-Needles & Tammen movable bridges built between 1928 and 1941 in the Monmouth-Cape May County region. Many of the examples survive in unaltered condition. The Shark River bridge retains its integrity of function and some original or in kind replacement fabric. But, in comparison, this span is not a well preserved example and is thus less technologically significant than others of the same design built in the same time period. The patent related to the bridge addresses the design of the trunnion tower. More complete examples of bridges of the same design in Monmouth County are Oceanic Bridge over the Navesink River (1300S31, 1939, Middletown Twp.) and NJ 36 over the Navesink River (1315150, 1932, Highlands Borough).

Bridge Considered Historic By Survey: No


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Maps and Links: Robert A Briant Sr. Memorial Bridge

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