CAPE MAY COURT HOUSE, NJ -- The Cape May County Board of Chosen Freeholders has approved the authorization to solicit design proposals for the replacement of the bascule span of the 96 th Street bridge leading to Stone Harbor. The replacement of the bascule span was identified as the County’s most pressing priority in the recently adopted Comprehensive Bridge Replacement and Improvement Plan for County and Bridge Commission Bridges and demonstrates the County’s commitment to implementing that comprehensive plan.
“This is an important step forward and underscores the Freeholders’ commitment to a timely implementation of the County’s newly adopted Comprehensive Bridge Plan,” stated Freeholder Will Morey, who oversees the County Engineer’s Office and is the liaison to the Bridge Commission.
The 96 th Street bridge was constructed in 1930. The original bridge included timber trestle approach spans and a twin leaf movable span known as a bascule span. The timber approach spans were replaced as part of a rehabilitation project that occurred in the 1980s and now consist of modern reinforced concrete piers and pre-stressed concrete box beams. However, the movable span of the bridge which includes the structural, mechanical, and electrical systems was repaired but not replaced or significantly modernized at that time.
Over the years, deterioration of the bascule span caused by weathering and age has adversely affected the bascule span’s reliability and function. Due to the continued deterioration of the framing members, the County load posted the bridge to a 15-ton capacity in the spring of 2020. Also, the County has installed speed tables on the approach roadway to slow traffic speeds approaching the bridge to reduce bridge impact. Although these measures will contribute to extending the anticipated life of the span, the Freeholders recognize that the remaining functioning life is limited and that a replacement design for the span should be undertaken so that the overall replacement schedule coincides with the remaining life of the bascule.
Full project completion is expected within the next 5 years. Information on project details and timeline will be provided as the design process progresses.