New Jersey State Highway Routes
Route 52 is a state highway in the southern part of the U.S. state of New Jersey. The highway runs 2.74 mi (4.41 km) from Palen Avenue in Ocean City, Cape May County north to U.S. Route 9 (New Road) in Somers Point, Atlantic County. It is composed mostly of a series of four-lane undivided bridges over Great Egg Harbor from Ocean City to Somers Point known as the Howard S. Stainton Memorial Causeway. The remainder of the route is a four-lane undivided surface road called MacArthur Boulevard that runs from the causeway to U.S. Route 9. This section of the route formerly included the Somers Point Circle, now a traffic light, where Route 52 intersects County Route 559 and County Route 585.
Route 52 was originally designated in 1937 to run the Somers Point Circle northwest to Mays Landing. This routing never came about and in 1953, Route 52 was designated onto its current alignment. County Route 585 ran concurrent with the route south of the Somers Point Circle until 1971, when it was truncated to end at the Somers Point Circle. The circle was removed in 2010 as part of the bridge reconstruction. In 2006, construction began on the replacement of the Route 52 causeway that was built in the 1930s over the Great Egg Harbor, beginning with guardrail repairs that reduced traffic to two lanes. In 2008, the northbound lanes of the causeway were opened to traffic. Construction is underway on the southbound lanes, which are expected to be completed in later 2009. The entire project is planned to be completed by 2012, including other improvements such as the construction of fishing piers, boat ramps, bike paths, walking trails, gateways, and a new Ocean City Visitor Center. In addition, improvements will be made to MacArthur Boulevard that include the addition of a center left-turn lane and the replacement of the Somers Point Circle with a traffic light. This project is to receive $70 million from the stimulus bill signed into law by President Barack Obama in 2009.
Route 52 begins along 9th Street in Ocean City, Cape May County, at an intersection with an unnamed road, located 0.01 miles (0.016 km) south of Palen Avenue. The road continues to the northwest on a four-lane, undivided road with a 35 mph (56 km/h) speed limit. The road continues to the southeast past the southern terminus of Route 52 as 9th Street, which terminates at Ocean City’s boardwalk along the Atlantic Ocean. Immediately after beginning, the route becomes the Howard S. Stainton Memorial Causeway, which crosses over Great Egg Harbor on a drawbridge and then the longer Rainbow Harbor Channel. In between these two channels is an island where the Ocean City Visitor Center is located. After crossing the Rainbow Harbor Channel, the road runs along another island before crossing over the Great Egg Harbor Thoroughfare (part of the Intracoastal Waterway) and then a ship channel on another drawbridge, where the route enters Somers Point in Atlantic County.
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