Cape May County freeholders Tuesday approved a $734,165 contract for permanent structural repairs to the Stone Harbor Bridge, which connects Stone Harbor and Cape May Court House.
The 86-year-old bridge was closed for about a month in the fall when electrical crews discovered a large crack in one of the main girders. Temporary repairs totaling about $400,000 were made until a more permanent fix could be designed.
“After the bridge had its fracture in the fall, we had asked the bridge-inspection company to go back out and look at the bridge and see what repairs needed to be made, so we didn’t have a similar situation in the future,” county engineer Dale Foster said.
Foster said the repair work will result in overnight closings and is expected to begin in late April or early May. He said they hope to complete the repairs by mid-June, but if they do not, they will suspend construction over the summer.
One of the repairs will be similar to what was done in November to get the bridge open, Foster said.
The contractor, Agate Construction Co., will be permitted to close the bridge 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. Sunday through Thursday.
At a December meeting, freeholders approved an $86,700 payment to Michael Baker International for engineering services related to this work. At an upcoming meeting, the freeholders will approve an additional $75,000 to $100,000 contract for construction engineering services, Foster said.
The 96th Street bridge was built in the 1930s and is one of more than 20 county-owned bridges. Foster said the county has considered replacing the bridge, but that will not be for many years.
Previous repairs to the bridge were made in 1983-85, 1998 and 1999.