By Ian Bush

CAPE MAY COUNTY, N.J. (CBS) — More trouble for the toll bridge connecting Avalon and Sea Isle City as it’s been shut down for emergency repairs, and it’s the fourth time in five years it’s had to be closed.

An underwater inspection on the Townsend’s Inlet Bridge ahead of planned work for next off-season uncovered problems that had to be addressed straight away.

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Cape May County engineer Dale Foster said, “One pile had a new crack in it and also showed some movements, and next to it the next pile over had severe deterioration.”

Because two of the three steel support structures in that one cluster were compromised, Foster says they were forced to close the span to the 2,000 or so cars that cross it each day.

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“We’re going to have to be able to drive new piles in place and around the existing facility and tie it in to the existing pier,” said Foster.

A complex repair, Foster says, with the damage 20 feet below the surface. But since they’re designing the fix around material the local steel supplier has in stock.

Foster added, “We’re hoping to get it done well in advance of Memorial Day.”

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