June 22, 2017
The Townsends Inlet Bridge connecting Sea Isle City and Avalon will reopen Friday afternoon after being closed for more than two months, Cape May County Engineer Dale Foster said.
The county closed the bridge in April after divers found a crack in a support piling 20 feet below the water while inspecting the bridge ahead of underwater substructure repairs planned for the winter.
Foster said the county-owned bridge should reopen around 4 p.m. Friday, just in time for the weekend exodus to the Jersey Shore.
The bridge, which opened in 1940, was initially expected to open by Memorial Day weekend, but complications due to stones placed in 1962 around the piers at the Avalon end of the bridge delayed the repair work, Foster said.
The county hired South State Inc. of Bridgeton to do the emergency repair, which included installing a new cluster of support pilings on Avalon's side of the bridge.
Foster said the county is still working out the final cost of the project with the contractor, but he did say the work should cost around $2 million.
"It's going to be very pricey, simply because of the cost of the equipment and the labor staff that was required," Foster told PhillyVoice on Thursday.
Crews also had to demolish a portion of the bridge deck to drive the new piles, Foster said, and the removed decks and walkways were reconstructed earlier this week.
Motorists traveling between Sea Isle and Avalon have had to either use Route 9 or the Garden State Parkway as alternate routes during repairs.
The bridge, which has a one-way toll of $1.50 for drivers heading into Sea Isle from Avalon, had been closed each winter from 2012-2015 because of ongoing repairs, and its reopening for the summer season in 2015 was delayed into late June because of corrosion on the bridge.