During routine inspections of the bridge that connects Belmar and Avon over the Shark River along Ocean Avenue, crews discovered the deterioration of steel pinions, the gears that support the bridge as it opens and closes.

In order to fix those gears, the bridge will have to remain in an 'open' position, meaning a complete stoppage of car and pedestrian traffic, with a limited amount of marine traffic.

Monmouth County Freeholder and liaison to the Department of Public Works and Engineering Tom Arnone said:

We understand the inconvenience a closure of this duration represents to those who travel in and around the impacted communities, but the safety of our residents and visitors remains our top priority.

Officials expect to award a contract and start work within two weeks, and have the project finished in mid-May, just before the rush of the tourist season.

I have family that lives in Belmar so I spend a lot of time there, and I know how bad traffic can get through that area. As long as the crews can get the project done before summer really hits it should be okay. While it's a hassle for the locals at the moment, fixing the bridge is the most important thing.

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