By Steve Tawa

NEW JERSEY (CBS) –Eyewitness News has learned the Townsends Inlet Bridge is expected to reopen Friday.

The bridge connecting Sea Isle City and Avalon has been closed since early April for emergency repairs to fix a crack in one of the bridge’s support piles.

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Folks on foot and riding bicycles have been able to get over the 800-foot long-span with no sweat, but motorists like Bobbie, whose corner condo unit is at the very end on the Sea Isle side, are forced to use Route 9 or the Garden State Parkway to circumvent the bridge.

“For me to get to Avalon by car, it takes me a good 30 to 40-minutes, depending on the traffic,” he said.

That’s an 11-to-16-mile detour.

During a routine inspection in April, defects were found on piles about 20-feet below the water that support piers.

While Cape May County officials originally hoped to have the Ocean Drive bridge reopen by Memorial Day, they then pushed back the date to the July 4th weekend, because repairs were more complex than originally thought.

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Avalon Business Administrator Scott Wahl said, “Safety is first, whenever we’re talking about a structure like a bridge.”

We also caught up with Joe from Cherry Hill, who was coasting downhill after the crossing.

“We went to about 32nd Street, and came back,” he said. “It’s a lot easier coming back, with the wind.”

Wahl says the bridge will be in service for the heart of the summer season.

“It’s opening at the perfect time, when the highest level of crowds are here at the shore,” he said.

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Besides, Wahl adds, most people use the main drag, Avalon Boulevard, to get into the Borough.