The 96th Street Bridge in Stone Harbor has been closed to all traffic after a large crack was discovered in one of the main span girders Friday morning.

According to a press release, the crack was discovered by a county work crew performing electrical maintenance on the bridge. Engineers and inspectors determined that the bridge needed to be closed to vehicular traffic as well as marine traffic since the bridge cannot be opened to allow boats to pass.

Motorists are advised to use either North Wildwood Boulevard (Route 147)/Ocean Drive (County Route 619) or preferably Avalon Boulevard (County Route 601)/Ocean Drive (County Route 619) as alternate routes. Due to the weight restriction of the Ocean Drive Bridge over Grassy Sound, all trucks are to use Avalon Boulevard/Ocean Drive as their alternate route.

The press release that announced the closing also details some of the history of the 86-year-old structure:

The 96th Street Bridge was originally constructed in 1930. The main span, called “Rall Type Bascule” is one of what is believed to be only six (6) of its kind constructed in the United States.  As a result of this type of construction, the movable span is deemed to be of historical significance.  In 1983-85, the approach spans of the bridge were replaced and the components of the main span were reconstructed.  The County repainted the main span and had structural repairs made to the bridge in 1998.  Some of the mechanical components of the main span were replaced in 1999.

SOURCE: Cape May County Department of Tourism and Public Information press release

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