LBI Deals With Bridge, Route 72 Closure Sunday Amid Police Probe
UPDATE: As of noon, the closure was over and the bridge reopened for traffic, Stafford Police announced.
Long Beach Island visitors were briefly stuck in place Sunday morning as a police investigation spurred the closure of Route 72 — the only route on and off the island.
Stafford Township Police announced the closure in both directions just before 11 a.m., as did police in Harvey Cedars and Long Beach Township.
No further details were initially publicly confirmed about the investigation, itself, though there was social media speculation about the cause.
The closure of the Manahawkin Bay Bridge did not take long to impact local businesses, as Panzone's LBI posted it was forced to delay opening for Sunday amid the disruption.
Stafford Township Police had received a call just before 10:30 a.m. reporting a "suspicious bag under the Rt. 72 East Causeway Bridge, near Morris Boulevard," according to an update from police at noon.
State Police assisted and the bag was deemed "safe and non-threatening".
The Route 72 Causeway in Ocean County connects Long Beach Island with the mainland, carrying traffic between Stafford Township and Ship Bottom on LBI, along the Manahawkin Bay Bridge and three trestle bridges, as described by state transportation officials.