Townsends Inlet toll bridge. Photo taken by Jodi Christman in June 2011 via Bridgehunter.com
The Cape May County bridge linking Avalon and Sea Isle City has been shut down indefinitely for emergency repairs after an underwater inspection deemed the span unsafe, officials said.
An underwater inspection of bridge pilings found structural damage 20 feet below the water.
The dive team found a crack and movement in one piling that appeared to be very recent, along with heavy deterioration in another three-pile cluster that supports one of the piers on the Avalon side of the bridge.
The cluster was put up following the 1962 nor'easter to provide more support because of the drop in the inlet bottom.
Officials said the conditions make the bridge unstable if it continues to be used. It will undergo repairs during the 2017-18 winter season.
The bridge is inspected every two years under federal requirements.
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