Townsend’s Inlet bridge closed starting Monday

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AVALON – The Ocean Drive Bridge over Townsend’s Inlet, between Avalon and Sea Isle City, will close for repairs starting Monday, Feb. 3. 

Mugrose Construction Inc. of Essex County is scheduled to close the bridge to begin rehabilitating the movable and tollhouse spans and is expected to reopen April 30.

The work is being performed under a $4,441,262 construction contract that involves structural rehabilitation this winter and mechanical rehabilitation for the movable span during the 2014-15 winter.  The project is partially funded through a million-dollar state grant in the amount.

The bridge will be closed to pedestrians, bicyclists and vehicles until April 30.  Once the structural repairs are completed, the posted weight limit will be increased from the 3 tons to 15 tons.  

The strengthening of these two spans will again permit New Jersey Transit buses to use the bridge, according to an announcement from the county.

Townsend’s Inlet Bridge was designed in 1939 to handle a 17.5 ton truck.  Over the years, the harsh marine environment has taken its toll on the bridge and is reflected in the advanced stages of deterioration and corrosion of structural members, according to county officials.  Through 2009 federal American Recovery and Re-Investment Act funding, the bridge was cleaned and painted.

Now this year, the bridge will see major repairs.

The structural rehabilitation work consists of removing and replacing the open-grid deck and the supporting stringers and floorbeams in the movable span.  The girders in both the movable and tollhouse spans are to be strengthened and areas of section losses repaired.  The bridge railing in both the movable and tollhouse spans are to be replaced with a standard 4-bar steel railing system. 

Other minor structural repairs will be made within the movable and tollhouse spans while the bridge is closed to traffic.

The mechanical work consists of removing and replacing racks and gears that drive the movable span.  Additionally, a new back-up motor is to be installed and the span locks are to be replaced.  The lead time to fabricate the new racks and gears is approximately 8 months and the reason the work is to be performed during two off-season periods, according to county officials

While the work on the movable span will be performed in the down position (closed), the contractor is required to temporarily balance the movable span to permit a bridge opening for marine vessels.  The span needs to be nearly balanced at all times to avoid damaging the motors, gears and racks, according to the county announcement.

The design engineer for the project is Modjeski and Masters Inc. of Burlington County.  The construction inspection is being performed by the county and the Cape May County Bridge Commission.

Any questions, call the Cape May County Public Works Department at 609-465-1035 or by  This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .  

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