Repairs to key Jersey Shore bridge might not be done by Memorial Day weekend

     Google image.

    Google image.

    Officials say repairs to bridge that connects two Jersey Shore towns might not be done in time for Memorial Day weekend, the beginning of the summer tourism season.

    Cape May County Engineer Dale Foster tells CBS 3 that the Townsends Inlet toll bridge, closed for repairs since early April, that the complex job is taking longer than expected due to deep water and swift tides.

    He was originally opitmistic for a late May reopening but is now working on contingency plans to get at least one lane open, according to the CBS 3 report. 

    The movable span that connects Sea Isle City and Avalon has been closed due to a crack in one of its supporting piers.

    Earlier this year, 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 Foster, 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.

    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 a 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.

    Motorists must continue to use Route 9 or the Garden State Parkway to circumvent the bridge.

    —————————————————————-

    The Associated Press contributed to this report. 

    Want a digest of WHYY’s programs, events & stories? Sign up for our weekly newsletter.

    It will take 126,000 members this year for great news and programs to thrive. Help us get to 100% of the goal.