Officials say a bridge that connects two Jersey Shore towns has been closed due to a crack in one of its supporting piers.
Cape May County Engineer Dale Foster says the Townsends Inlet toll bridge will be closed indefinitely. The movable span connects Sea Isle City and Avalon.
Foster says a diver hired to survey the area in preparation for underwater substructure repairs next winter discovered a crack about 30 feet below water in one of the piers. The crack is “very recent in nature,” according to the engineer, who added that the diver discovered “severe deterioration” in a pile supporting another pier.
The pier where the crack was discovered was installed during the summer of 1962.
Foster says the hope is that repairs can be completed before Memorial Day. Motorists will have to use Route 9 or the Garden State Parkway to circumvent the bridge.
The engineer says the bridge will need to be reinforced during the repairs, which will require a barge with a crane.
In 2015, a project to repair the support beams on the bridge’s movable span faced numerous setbacks, forcing the closure into early summer.
It is one of Cape May County’s structurally deficient bridges. Federal requirements mandate a complete survey of the entire structure every two years.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.