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April 09, 2019

Bridge connecting Avalon and Sea Isle City likely to be closed most of summer

Ongoing construction on the Townsends Inlet span will again make it more difficult to travel between the neighboring Jersey Shore towns

Infrastructure Bridges
Townsend's Inlet Bridge PROVIDED//Landis Real Estate Co.

The Townsends Inlet Bridge could reopen by the end of July, if construction continues to go according to plan, Cape May County announced.

For the third summer in a row, the Townsends Inlet Bridge will undergo an extended closure as crews continue a project to replace its spans.

Construction on the heavily traveled bridge between Avalon and Sea Isle City initially was given an optimistic completion date of May 22.

Cape May County officials announced this week that a change in the scope of the project will push the bridge's reopening to late summer.

"Although originally proposed to be a substructure repair project, additional pre-design inspections revealed a degree of deterioration and scour requiring span replacement," officials said in a statement.

This summer's project will require the replace of seven the bridge's spans.

A combination of anticipated weather delays, manpower needs and the overall complexity of the project resulted in the county pushing back the anticipated completion date.

Two years ago, the 79-year-old bridge was closed for more than two months after divers discovered a crack in a support piling 20 feet below the water. It was closed for another three weeks last summer as crews made structural repairs and replaced the bridge's railing in the area adjacent to its movable span.

"With public safety as the foremost concern, but with keen awareness of the inconvenience and impacts the delay will cause residents and businesses in Avalon and Sea Isle City, the county and all involved in the Townsends Inlet project are working together to achieve the earliest opening date possible and will be able to better project the expected opening date in the next 30 days after key construction activities are completed," officials said.