The Thomas A. Mathis Bridge over Barnegat Bay will remain closed on Friday, since New Jersey Natural Gas has more remedial work to do on the barrier island, Berkeley Township Mayor Carmen F. Amato Jr. said.
"The township was informed that New Jersey Natural Gas has encountered more leaks on the barrier island that they expected in Seaside Heights," Amato said tonight.
The news sets the company's timetable for pressurizing the gas lines back one day and prohibits access to the storm-ravaged towns on the peninsula via the Route 37 East bridge on Friday.
"New Jersey Natural Gas has additional work to do on the repressurization project...that will require access to homes to remain restricted on Friday," Amato said. "The bridge must remain closed on Friday morning. As soon as New Jersey Natural Gas notifies the township they have completed the work, access will be restored."
New Jersey Natural Gas began to pressurize the gas lines for Seaside Heights and Pelican Island on Thursday. While leaks were discovered in Seaside Heights, there were no problems on Pelican Island, the mayor said.
NJNG had originally announced plans to pressurize the lines for Seaside Park and South Seaside Park on Friday.
Once the lines are pressurized, NJNG employees will do meter rebuilds. When the meter rebuilds are completed, natural gas will be reintroduced to the meter, the mayor said.
The gas will be shut off at the meter's shut-off valve and a tag attached to the valve.
The tag will state "Before opening this valve, you must properly test and inspect the piping beyond the valve as well as any natural gas equipment. You may also need to have approval by your local code official. Once inspection is complete and any and all necessary approvals are obtained, natural gas service may be safely initiated by a qualified individual, such as a licensed plumber or HVAC contractor, without contacting New Jersey Natural Gas Company."