Bridge linking two Shore towns won't be open for Memorial Day

Tim Jimenez
April 05, 2019 - 7:17 am
Townsend’s Inlet Bridge between Avalon and Sea Isle City, New Jersey at sunset with the drawbridge up for boats to pass below.

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UPDATED 1 p.m.

PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — Construction on a bridge that connects the Jersey Shore towns of Sea Isle City and Avalon won't be finished by Memorial Day, as the summer season opens up. 

The Townsends Inlet Bridge has been under construction since September. But a problem popped up last month, and there's no firm date for the bridge to reopen.

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Sea Isle Chamber of Commerce President Christopher Glancey says local businesses are taking a hit.

"People who would be driving through town that would stop, now go out and drive the Parkway and other areas," he said. "So you're just losing customers."

Glancey says the bridge staying closed hurts other shore towns, too.

"You effectively cut the county in half by stopping this bridge, which is in the middle of Cape May County. So, we all feel the impact in the business community," he said. 

When the bridge is open, he says people are more likely to make stops and spend some money.

"There's no businesses on the Parkway. You're just driving. So, you're not stopping anywhere." 

Crews are in the process of replacing the first seven spans of the 80-year-old bridge on the Avalon side. County officials say things were moving along, and May 22 was the target date for the bridge to reopen. But officials say crews recently discovered a problem with one of the piles that was installed, and that backed everything up. 

Glancey says people in town are annoyed but used to problems with the bridge. It was closed for three months for emergency repairs two years ago. Part of last year, there was work being done, and only one lane was getting by.

Glancey says he hopes to see major changes one day. 

"It would be nice to have a permanent solution to the infrastructure issue and have a bridge that we know is gonna be there," he said.