CAPE MAY COURT HOUSE, NJ -- In
September 2018, the County in cooperation with the Cape May County BridgeCommission engaged a contractor to replace spans 1-7 of the Townsend’s Inlet
Bridge. Although originally proposed to be a substructure repair project,additional pre-design inspections revealed a degree of deterioration and scour
requiring span replacement. As a result, recognizing the significantimportance of the bridge to residents and summer commercial interests, both the
design and construction contracts were accelerated with the goal of obtaining aMay 22, 2019 completion date.
Unfortunately, attaining the May 22nd completion date left little
margin for delays resulting from weather, tidal events, and the overallcomplexity of the project. Despite adding additional manpower and work
shifts (at times 24 hours per day of construction activity), severalconstruction challenges including those associated with demolition, underwater
salvage operations, and subsurface geotechnical complications have adverselyaffected the bridge’s completion schedule. Regrettably, the aftermath of
the previous construction issues will result in a substantial delay of theplanned opening date of the bridge. Based upon the best information
available to the County at this time, it is estimated that the Townsend’s InletBridge will not open before late summer.
With public safety as the foremost concern,
but with keen awareness of the inconvenience and impacts the delay will causeresidents and businesses in Avalon and Sea Isle City, the County and all
involved in the Townsend Inlet project are working together to achieve theearliest opening date possible and will be able to better project the expected
opening date in the next thirty days after key construction activities arecompleted.
The Townsends Inlet Bridge along with all other bridges in Cape May County undergo routine scheduled inspections for the purpose of ensuring the safety to the users. Both above water and submerged elements of the bridge are monitored and evaluated, and as a result of these inspections, repair and/or replacement of bridge components is evaluated.
The replacement of the seven Townsend
Inlet Bridge spans arose after inspections revealed that replacement versusrepair was needed in order to provide the safest and most cost-effective means