🚧 A mechanical failure caused "significant damage" to the bridge's machinery

🚧 A replacement part had to be custom-made

🚧 The bridge had to be in the up position to allow for marine traffic

It will get a little easier for residents and visitors as the Route 71 drawbridge over the Shark River is on target to open Friday.

The 92-year-old bridge between Belmar and Avon-by-the-Sea closed on March 1 when the north bridge leaf could not be raised after a mechanical failure caused "significant damage" to the machinery. Because marine traffic has the right of way per federal law a crane was used to force the leaf up.

A replacement part needed to be custom-made to complete the repair. DOT spokesman Steve Shapiro told New Jersey 101.5 that three days of  "rigorous testings" required to open the bridge is underway. He expected the bridge to reopen to traffic late Friday afternoon.

ALSO READ: Pressure mounts on Murphy to crack down on shore chaos

Shuttle bus used between Belmar and Avon-by-the-sea during the closure of the Shark RIver Bridge on Route 71
Shuttle bus used between Belmar and Avon-by-the-sea during the closure of the Shark RIver Bridge on Route 71 (NJ DOT)

Shuttle buses still operating

Until the repair is complete the DOT offers a free shuttle bus between the two boroughs

The DOT is also repairing the expansion joints under the bridge. This work should be done by July but will then require a lane shift.

ALSO READ: 1 dead, multiple injured after woman plows into work site

Shark River Bridge
Shark River Bridge (Bud McCormick)

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