Key Cape May County bridge to close briefly

 The damaged bridge connects Sea Isle City (left) to Avalon (right) in New Jersey. (Bing Maps image)

The damaged bridge connects Sea Isle City (left) to Avalon (right) in New Jersey. (Bing Maps image)

The Townsends Inlet toll bridge, connecting Sea Isle City and Avalon, will be closed between 10 p.m. Friday and 5 a.m. Saturday for crews to begin a $2.67 million renovation project, officials say.

The brief closure will allow workers to install a concrete construction barrier curb and temporary traffic signal system for the first phase of work, according to a Cape May County news release.

Traffic will alternate on one lane when the bridge reopens through June 2018, and there be no toll payment required.

The project involves the removal of the existing deteriorated steel bridge railing and the installation of a new standard steel 4-bar railing system on 25 of 27 spans of the bridge.

The work will not impact the movable span, which opens for marine traffic.

The bridge faced an emergency repairs between April and late June after a diver hired to survey the area in preparation for underwater substructure repairs discovered a crack about 30 feet below water in one of the piers.

Officials at the time said 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.

In 2015, a project to repair the support beams on the bridge’s movable span faced numerous setbacks, forcing a closure into early summer.

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