Historical Stone Harbor, NJ Bridge to close for repairs this week
The main bridge entering Stone Harbor's 96th Street will be closed at night for maintenance this week as local drivers will be detoured to other bridges entering the island.
Starting Monday, July 10th, the 96th Street Bridge (also known as Stone Harbor Boulevard on County Route 657) will be closed for repairs from 10 pm to 6 am to perform proactive maintenance to the drawbridge each night. Since the bridge was first constructed in 1930, this has been the primary entry point for travelers to enter Stone Harbor at the heart of the downtown business district. The bridge will be open during the day for commuters to come into and out of the island community while the plan is for all repairs and work to be done no later than 6 am on Friday Morning July 14th.
Each night this week, traffic will be detoured to enter Stone Harbor from either the north or south:
The Avalon Boulevard Bridge, which enters that municipality at 30th Street via County Route 602, is accessible from Garden State Parkway Exit 13 and Route 9 in Middle Township. This north entry for Stone Harbor is free of any tolls in either direction.
The Ocean Drive Toll bridge, which enters Stone Harbor at the southern end of the island, is accessible to motorists who turn onto County Route 619 via North Wildwood Boulevard. There have been no public announcements about if the toll bridge will make any changes to its toll policy during the repairs on the 96th Street Bridge.
The Stone Harbor Boulevard Bridge has undergone some overhaul repairs on the drawbridge and structure in the last 40 years.
This unique style of bridge structure is called a Rall-type bascule, a rare architectural type that was the design for only six bridges in all of the United States but only one in the state of New Jersey. Because of the unique history of the bridge, it was registered on the New Jersey State Historic Register and the National Register of Historic Places per action by the New Jersey State Historic Preservation Office in 1983.
From 1983-1985 and later in 1998, the bridge underwent structural repairs to modernize the drawbridge's technology along with making repairs to the overall structural integrity. The bridge was closed for emergency repairs in October 2016 and June 2020 to deal with structural issues caused by "fatigue cracking" and to "restore full integrity" according to a Cape May County Official report published in February of 2022.
This report, published by the Cape May County Department of Engineering and the Cape May County Bridge Commission, was the precursor to the work being done this summer as there are still repairs that need to be done to the bascule span of the Stone Harbor Boulevard Bridge; This is the part of the bridge that opens-and-closes for boats to pass underneath, also the part of the bridge that makes it so unique to architectural history. Cape May County has spent over 2 million dollars since 2010 upgrading and repairing the electrical components that operate the bascule span.
NOTE: "THE COMPREHENSIVE BRIDGE REPLACEMENT AND IMPROVEMENT PLAN for CAPE MAY COUNTY AND BRIDGE COMMISSION BRIDGES" report is in PDF format on the Cape May County Government website for public perusal.