Unfortunately the Townsends Inlet Bridge is not going to be open to vehicular traffic for the Memorial Day Weekend. Mugrose Construction, Inc., of West Caldwell, NJ is unable to complete the necessary work required to permit the movable span to be operational for this busy travel weekend. As a result, the movable span will continue to be locked in the up position that allows the boats to pass through the navigation span of the bridge.
As of two (2) weeks ago, Mugrose Construction was confident that the bridge would be open for traffic over the Memorial Day Weekend. The replacement of the gears and racks that operate the movable span is a very challenging and delicate construction operation. The precision of the installation of the gears have to be within 0.001 of an inch. This work cannot be rushed or fear damaging the gears and the equipment that drives the span. Therefore, instead of rushing the installation of the new parts, Mugrose Construction is proceeding with due diligence to ensure the proper assembly of the gears and racks. The deep pitted rusting of the existing steel has not been easy to deal with. The mating surfaces of the structural steel to the gears must be prepared and coated. Any imperfections due to the corrosion must be corrected.
Once the gears and racks are installed, the new control system installation can be completed. With the new equipment and wiring, the control system will go through a testing period to ensure proper operation of the various components that go into operating the movable span.
It is expected that it will take at least another two to three weeks before the movable span is safe to operate thus permitting the bridge to open for vehicular traffic.
While it is disappointing that the Townsends Inlet Bridge is not available for use over Memorial Day Weekend, we must use caution to ensure the safe and reliable operation of the bridge.