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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Leaning pier closes Beesleys Point Bridge

By MICHAEL MILLER Staff Writer, (609) 463-6712, E-Mail-Press of Atlantic City

UPPER TOWNSHIP - The Beesleys Point Bridge closed Wednesday afternoon, a day after an old concrete piling beneath the span partially collapsed and threatened to fall on one of the steel support beams.

The state Department of Transportation dispatched engineers to Upper Township on Wednesday to inspect the toll bridge and determine how to remove the crumbling pier, Commissioner Jack Lettiere said.

The old concrete piers are remnants of the bridge's original 1920s superstructure but are no longer functional or attached to the bridge. The damaged pier, which shifted by 8 feet, did not harm the bridge's structural integrity, Lettiere said.

"The bridge itself was not in danger of collapse. But if this old pier were to fall even farther, it could damage some of the steel structural members," Lettiere said.

An employee with the Garden State Parkway noticed the leaning concrete pier on Tuesday and alerted the Beesleys Point Bridge Company and State Police in the Woodbine barracks.

Lettiere said that at 10:30 or 11 a.m. Wednesday the company was advised to close the bridge. Co-owner Stephen Hankin said he ordered the closure around 1 p.m. as a precaution after his inspectors evaluated the situation.

But traffic was still crossing the bridge at 4:30 p.m. Lettiere said traffic would be detoured to the parkway on both sides of the Great Egg Harbor Bay.

"It's a very temporary closing. It's not due to any structural problems," Hankin said. "We just want to make sure an old piece of concrete does not fall against the foundation."

Hankin said he hoped to reopen the bridge by Friday. The span's drawbridge continued to operate for boaters.

For years, the Beesleys Point Bridge Company has been trying to sell the span, claiming its toll receipts were not keeping up with maintenance and repair costs. But the DOT has been adamant that it will not endorse a public takeover of this Route 9 toll bridge that links Atlantic and Cape May counties.

Two local lawmakers introduced a bill last month requiring the state to intervene if the bridge company files for bankruptcy and closes the span. But under a state takeover, taxpayers would have to spend $20 million for repairs just to bring it up to state standards, the DOT said.

Lettiere on Wednesday said the company would pay for the emergency work.

"Our position remains the same," Lettiere said. "It's a privately held bridge. We had an agreement with these folks. They promised to keep this bridge for 20 years. It's still their responsibility to do so."

Hankin declined to comment on the latest negotiations with the state. Lettiere said he planned to meet with the bridge owners soon.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Beesleys Point Bridge still closed for repairs

From Press staff reports

UPPER TOWNSHIP - The Beesleys Point Bridge will remain closed for repairs for at least the next couple of days until a concrete pier is removed, state officials said Monday.

The state brought in a crane by barge late Monday to hold the crumbling concrete in place while workers chip away at it with hand tools, said Joe Fiordaliso, a spokesman for the state Department of Transportation.

"We think we've engineered a solution to this," he said.

The privately owned bridge was closed last week after a toll collector on the Garden State Parkway noticed an old concrete pier leaning precariously over the water beneath the Route 9 span. A concrete piling had partially collapsed. The nonfunctional piers date to 1928 when the original bridge was built. They were replaced by steel beams that now support the bridge.

Workers plan to remove the leaning pier and address the other crumbling piers.

Detours around the bridge will remain in place in both Cape May and Atlantic counties. The state erected signs on Route 9 and the Garden State Parkway advising motorists to find alternative routes to Beesleys Point or Somers Point.

"The only calls we've gotten are from fishermen wondering if the bridge is going to reopen because they'd like to fish off it," Fiordaliso said
 

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What I dont get, is if the bridge was closed all weekend, and it was, why they just didn't raise the drawbridge and leave it raised, I went under the bridge on sunday and saw the guy in the tower, why not leave it up,maybe they are afraid it wont come back down, i fish around that bridge alot and it is in bad shape, not just the section that fell, the whole bridge is one barge bang from toppling. Would make great fihing pier, lotsa differant fish in that area.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Repair work resumes on Beesleys bridge

From Press staff reports

UPPER TOWNSHIP - Repair work resumed last week on the closed Beesleys Point Bridge, state officials confirmed Monday.

The state Department of Transportation said workers were back on site after weeks of inactivity at the span, which closed June 16 after a toll collector noticed an old support was leaning precariously over the water.

Co-owner Stephen Hankin could not be reached for comment Monday. But bridge Manager Bob Ritter said work is expected to continue this week to shore up or remove the deteriorated concrete piers that threaten the new steel supports.

Ritter said he did not know when the toll bridge might reopen
 

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They have to ensure the bridge will not come down in wind or storm to be opened at all times as per the USCG and Corp of Engineers regulations. Since hurricane season could hit the bridge and cause to close without warning there is no way to securly open the bridge permanently.
 
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