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A portion of the Cape May Canal rail bridge has broken off and now poses a risk to boaters who use the waterway. The train bridge, which once operated alongside the Seashore Road Bridge, has not been in use for about a decade. Ladybug House
A large piece of a defunct train bridge that forms part of the Cape May Canal, which connects Cape May Harbor to the Delaware Bay, broke off in recent days and is considered a hazard to boaters who use the waterway.
Sea Tow Cape May posted a warning to boaters on Thursday that a 100-foot-section of the train bridge broke off and drifted about 100 yards east of the span. Wildwood Video Archive reported that the location affected is the train bridge that sits next to the Seashore Road Bridge along New Jersey Route 162, which connects to county routes 603 and 626 in Lower Township.
Although the section peering out of the water may not look that big, mariners are being advised that much of it is underwater.
NOTICE TO MARINERS! We just received a report from our friend Scott White that an approximately 100’ long section of the...
There are three bridges across the Cape May Canal, which was built by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers during World War II in order to provide a safe route to evade German U-boats. One bridge links the Garden State Parkway to Cape May via Route 109. The other two are the Seashore Road Bridge and the swing railroad bridge that formerly ran parallel to it.
The rail span has been out of commission since 2013, when a storm caused electrical damage to the bridge. Because it's no longer active, it has been left in an open position to allow boaters to pass through the canal. The railroad line is owned by NJ Transit and leased to the tourist outfit Cape May Seashore Lines.
This is the second time this year that a piece of the train bridge broke off and drifted into the waterway. In April, a wooden structure meant to protect the bridge supports from boat traffic was damaged and came loose, blocking the canal.
At the time of that incident, NJ Transit told the Press of Atlantic City that the train bridge would need extensive repairs if it were to ever be put back into operation. There are no plans to restore the bridge at this time. Many of the pilings for the bridge date back to the 1970's, increasing the risk that pieces will continue to break off and obstruct the waterway.
Regular commuter rail service to Cape May ended in the 1980's. The rail line surrounding the bridge most recently has been used by Revolution Rail Co., which allows towards to ride up to the bridge using rail bikes along the scenic Garrett Family Preserve.
It's unclear how soon crews will be able to remove the broken section of the rail bridge currently in the canal. After the incident in April, the Coast Guard notified NJ Transit and that section was removed within a few days.
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