The state will run 800 feet of parallel wire in an attempt to keep herring gulls away from what has proven to be a deadly perch: the railings of the reconstructed Route 52 causeway between Somers Point and Ocean City.
Since the completion of the new elevated causeway in the spring, gulls have rested on the railing on the north side of the four-lane highway — putting them on a collision course with the vehicles driving by at more than 40 mph. The shoulders of the causeway have been littered with roadkill from the gulls flying into cars and trucks.
New Jersey Department of Transportation spokesman Joe Dee announced the plan on Friday. He said the contractor still working to complete the final stages of the causeway reconstruction project will install two wires a short distance above the railings to prevent the birds from landing there.
The strategy has proven effective in other locations — including many restaurants and cafes with outdoor seating.
The state worked with a consultant, the Department of Environmental Protection and the Division of Fish, Game and Wildlife to make the recommendation. The experts said the gulls are likely perching on the railing to look for fiddler crabs.
The work is expected to be complete in about a month.
A six-year, $400 million project to reconstruct the Route 52 causeway between Ocean City and Somers Point is in the final stages. It is expected to be fully complete by the end of the year with the opening of a mid-causeway visitors center and a separate lane for bicycles and pedestrians.