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Officials Laud Bridge Re-Opening

Business owners happy to see bridge functional for holiday weekend

State Sen. Sean Kean and Assemblyman Dave Rible joined with business owners and local representatives to hold a ribbon-cutting ceremony today to celebrate the reopening of the Main Street (Route 71) bridge that connects Avon-By-The-Sea and Belmar over the Shark River.

Despite predictions that it wouldn't open until late July, the New Jersey Department of Transportation reported Friday that the bridge will be opened to vehicle and pedestrian traffic today.

The bridge has been closed since October 2010, when the DOT began a $17.8 million rehabilitation of the mechanical and electrical systems and safety barriers for the bridge. The project also included improvements to the Route 88 bridge over the Inland Waterway in Point Pleasant.

“We promised local officials and business owners that we would do everything possible to get the bridge back in service by Memorial Day, which is the traditional start of the Jersey Shore summer season,” said NJDOT Commissioner James Simpson.  “I’m pleased we have been able to beat that deadline and wish the businesses and the towns a safe and prosperous summer.”

"While this bridge closing has lasted longer than we were originally told, it is good to see it is finally over," Belmar Mayor Matt Doherty. "This has been a burden on our businesses, and I am pleased that we can move forward into the summer with the bridge operating properly."

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