The troubled bridge connecting Avalon and Sea Isle City is finally open.
The Townsends Inlet Bridge was closed in Sept. 2018 to replace some of its old steel spans. Cape May County officials last summer expected the span to reopen by Memorial Day weekend, but in April, issued a statement saying that the span wouldn’t be open for summer.
But in late May, citing favorable weather conditions, officials said work had progressed “better than projected” and estimated a reopening this summer. The county had set a target date of July 30.
The bridge reopened at 6 p.m. Thursday. Officials have suspended the $1.50 toll until Monday, July 29.
The reopening for the last six weeks of the summer tourism season is welcomed news for residents and visitors who have had to take a long detour between Avalon and Sea Isle City. Pedestrians and cyclists will also now be able to quickly access either town.
The last maintenance project between November 2017 and May 2018 for the replacement of steel railings had forced traffic to alternate through one lane.
It is one of Cape May County’s structurally deficient bridges. Local residents have consistently called for a full bridge replacement, but the county has said that it doesn’t have the funds to construct new bridge that could cost upwards of $175 million.