Tuesday, November 22, 2016
The following is a press release issued by the County of Cape May on Tuesday evening, November 22nd:
STONE HARBOR, NJ –Stone Harbor Boulevard (CR657) Bridge over Great Channel, locally referred to as the “96th Street Bridge”, is scheduled to reopen to traffic this evening (November 22), after being closed since October 28th due to a large crack discovered in one of the main span girders. The bridge will also be able to open for marine vessels traversing the navigational channel under the bridge.
Michael Baker International, Inc. (Baker) of Hamilton, NJ, the County’s consultant overseeing the inspection of the bridge and development of the repair details for the cracked girder, has recommended the bridge be load posted at 15 tons as a result of their further investigational and inspection of the movable span. All trucks and buses are to use Avalon Boulevard (County Road No. 601/Ocean Drive (County Road No. 619) to access Stone Harbor.
The main span of the bridge consist of two (2) movable leaves that are supported by two (2) build-up girders each. The movable span leaves open to allow for the passage of marine vessels under the bridge by the use of motors by pivoting about a bearing. The vertical crack occurred near this pivoting point in the one of the main girders.
Baker, who is under contract with NJ Department of Transportation (NJDOT) for the biennial inspections of county-owned bridge in Cape May County, was engaged by the County Freeholders to develop the repairs to the girder. The IEW Construction Group (IEW), a firm that has had the structural maintenance contract with NJDOT for numerous years, was brought in to perform the repairs. IEW worked multiple shifts and Saturdays to effectuate the repairs needed to reopen the bridge.
The main issue with the repairs was jacking the cracked girder back into position so that it could be strengthen by welding large steel plates onto the web of the girder. The jacking was accomplished through the assembly of a truss, taken from a “Bailey” type bridge, over the movable span. Additional repairs were required at the “toe-end” of the movable span leaf once the truss was disassembled.
The 96th Street Bridge was originally constructed in 1930 and is one of two movable bridges in the County’s inventory of bridges. The main span, called “Rall Type Bascule” is only one of its kind in New Jersey and it is believed that there is 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.
Both Baker and IEW are working under “time and materials” agreements. The total cost of the repairs will be known sometime next month when each firm submit their invoice with the supporting documentation of their costs.
Baker is recommending additional repairs to avoid any further structural issues in the movable span and to eliminate the load posting of the bridge. This work is anticipated to be performed while maintaining traffic on the bridge and be completed before the summer season.
To receive updated information as it becomes available please subscribe to the Borough’s website or upload the Borough of Stone Harbor APP on your smartphone.