Large crack in 86-year-old Cape May County bridge forces closure

    A bridge providing an important linkage between Stone Harbor and the mainland is closed after a county work crew performing maintenance last Friday discovered a large crack.

    The Stone Harbor Bridge over the Great Channel, known as the 96th Street Bridge, will be closed for at least a week, according to Cape May County Engineer Dale Foster.

    The vertical crack was discovered in a girder near the pivoting point of two movable leaves that open to allow for the passage of marine vessels, Foster said in a release.

    A crew from Michael Baker International was performing electrical, mechanical, and safety inspections of the bridge last month but “there were no signs of a crack in the girder” at that time, Foster said.

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    The engineer tells The Press of Atlantic City that crews could repair the structure with a temporary prefabricated truss, technology used during World War II, followed by a permanent repair.

    The county advises motorists to use either North Wildwood Boulevard/Ocean Drive or preferably Avalon Boulevard/Ocean Drive as alternate routes. All trucks mst use Avalon Boulevard/Ocean Drive due to the weight restriction of the Ocean Drive Bridge over Grassy Sound.

    The bridge currently cannot open for boats.

    The 96th Street Bridge was originally constructed in 1930, with improvements in the early 1980s and late 1990s.

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