Townsends Inlet Bridge closed

The Townsends Inlet Bridge connecting Avalon and Sea Isle City will not reopen in time for Memorial Day weekend.

CAPE MAY COURT HOUSE — Acknowledging a May 22 completion date will be missed, it is now estimated the Townsends Inlet Bridge will not reopen before late summer, Cape May County officials said Monday.

The county, in cooperation with the Cape May County Bridge Commission, hired Agate Construction of Dennis Township for $8.6 million to replace spans one through seven of the 27-span bridge, which connects from Avalon to Sea Isle City, Diane F. Wieland, Cape May County’s director of tourism, said in a news release. The bridge shut in September to begin the work.

Although originally proposed to be a substructure repair project, additional inspection revealed a degree of deterioration and scour requiring a span replacement, Wieland said.

Finishing before Memorial Day weekend left little margin for delays resulting from the complexity of the project, tidal events and the weather, Wieland said.

“Despite adding additional manpower and work shifts (at times 24 hours per day of construction activity), several construction challenges, including those associated with demolition, underwater salvage operations and subsurface geo-technical complications, have adversely affected the bridge’s completion schedule,” Wieland said.

Officials will be able to better project the expected opening date in the next 30 days after key construction activities are completed, Wieland said.

Traffic along Ocean Drive is detoured to Avalon Boulevard, and traffic going south along Landis Avenue is detoured to Sea Isle Boulevard.

Ocean Drive is closed north of Fourth Avenue on the Avalon side of the bridge.

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