More traffic and headaches are headed our way during the busy Jersey Shore summer season with the Townsend Inlet Bridge closed once again. The county-owned bridge originally opened in 1940 to connect Sea Isle City and Avalon via Ocean Drive. Earlier this week divers who were hired to survey the bridge as part of an every two year inspection required by federal requirements discovered a crack and movement in one of the bridge’s pile, and severe deterioration in another pile 20 feet below the water. The original three-pile cluster was added in the summer of 1962.The bridge is now closed indefinitely according to Cape May County Engineer Dale Foster as it is not stable enough to support loads.
According to Foster, the repair will require the use of special equipment including a barge and crane to add additional piles to the bridge to help with its support. The county is hoping that all repairs will be done prior to Memorial Day. Commuters are encouraged to use Garden State Parkway or Route 9 until repairs have been made.
Residents of the area are all too familiar with the closing of the bridge. After Hurricane Sandy in 2012 the road on the Avalon side of the bridge suffered heavy damage and the bridge was closed for a half year for repairs. It was also closed again in 2014 and 2015 in the off season where it underwent a $4.4 million upgrade.