AVALON, New Jersey (WPVI) -- It was the moment they've all been waiting for. For 11 long months, they have been agonizingly waiting for the Townsends Inlet Bridge to open. And then it finally did on Thursday at 6 p.m
"We wanted to be the first in line to get over the bridge to go absolutely into Avalon. Do you realize how quickly you'll be able to get across? I'm hoping to do it in 2.3 minutes," said Bobby Maurone of Sea Isle City.
And Jeff Parkhouse of Oley, Pennsylvania added, "2.3, I hope the bridge holds up, here we go."
Since last September, the bridge had been closed for some major repairs on some of the steel spans.
The Cape May County Bridge Commission had been working closely with their construction partners to reopen it as early in the summer season as possible.
In the meantime, people trying to get to and from had to travel a 15-mile detour that took 30 minutes.
"It's just been torturous having to drive all the way around and all the way back when you know it only takes 2.3 minutes and you're there ha ha ha," laughed Donna Wesley of Lower Gwynedd, Pennsylvania.
Kids on their bikes were the first to cross the newly reopened bridge.
"That was amazing, we're now going down to see our friends in Sea Isle so we've been trapped all year. We've been trapped in Avalon and its been pretty tragic. But now you can go over to visit each other," said some teenagers.
"We live in Sea Isle City and they live in Avalon and today my aunt, they had to come all the way around, we didn't know it was opening," said Celeste Sweeney. "And now I feel awesome, so tonight I'm gonna free ride across the bridge," said Diane Marsich of Avalon.
And as a thank you for everyone's patience while the bridge was being repaired, the Bridge Commission says no tolls will be charged all weekend. You can cross the bridge for free until 6 a.m. Monday.
Townsends Inlet Bridge reopens after months of construction
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