BELMAR — The Route 71 bridge over the Shark River between Belmar and Avon-by-the-Sea is closed to both vehicles and boats after the bridge got stuck in the up position on Wednesday morning.

The DOT said the Shark River Bridge became stuck around 5 a.m., forcing the closure of Route 71 in both directions until further notice but engineers are already making progress in their assessment of the situation.

According to DOT spokesman Steve Schapiro a malfunction while the bridge was in the open position caused minor damage to steel below the roadway surface on one side of the bridge.

The bridge will be fully opened on Wednesday afternoon to allow marine traffic to pass but the roadway will remain closed.

"The goal is to complete the minor steel repairs and reopen one lane in each direction on Route 71 by Thursday afternoon," Schapiro said.

Route 71 Main Street northbound detour from Belmar to Avon by the Sea:

      • Motorists on Route 71 northbound will be directed to turn left onto Eighth Avenue
      • Turn right on Route 35
      • Continue over the Route 35/Shark River Bridge and follow signs for Avon by the Sea

Route 71 Main Street southbound detour from Avon by the Sea to Belmar:

    • Motorists on Route 71 southbound will be directed to turn right onto Sylvania Avenue
    • Stay right and take the ramp to Route 35 South/Belmar
    • Take Route 35 over the Shark River Bridge into Belmar
    • Turn left onto Eighth Avenue and follow to Main Stree

The bridge was built in 1932 and was rehabilitated in 2011. A second rehab was done in 2013 following Superstorm Sandy. A new bridge to be built one direction at a time is in the early stage of design.

Contact reporter Dan Alexander at Dan.Alexander@townsquaremedia.com or via Twitter @DanAlexanderNJ

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