SEA ISLE CITY — When the Townsend Inlet Bridge closed 10 days ago for emergency repairs, the inconvenience it created was balanced by the need for safety.

In a statement on the city's website, it was revealed that the closure came as the result of an underwater inspection performed on the bridge on April 3. As a result, Cape May County hired South State Inc. to do the repairs "as quickly as possible."

According to the city, the goal is to have the work done before Memorial Day and the official start of the summer season, but even before then they said they know the closure will affect people who drive on the road all year.

"While we understand the inconvenience this causes to many people, we appreciate that the county is placing safety above all else," the statement said.

Katherine Custer, the city's director of community services, said this is not the first time the bridge has had issues, but that the city is appreciative of the work the county has done to fix it when repairs are needed.

She said the most recent work on the bridge was done roughly a year and a half ago, and more significant damage done after Hurricane Sandy.

"Periodically this is what happens," she said. We are on the oceanfront. The inlet gets a lot of weather, and water, and currents, so this is going to happen."

Custer said with the bridge that connects Sea Isle City to Avalon closed, people on the southern end of the city are forced to go well out of there way for what would normally be a short trip over the span.

While there has been some talk of replacing the aging structure, Custer said there is nothing imminent, which means the approach they have taken in recent years will have to last for the foreseeable future. Some estimates have said it could take close to 10 years to put a new bridge in place.

"The county has not announced anything to us about creating a new bridge," Custer said. "Let's say it did take 10 years. I'd imagine they'd still want to repair the bridge if there were issues along the way."

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