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CREST HAVEN - Cape May County Freeholder Director Gerald M. Thornton issued the following statement regarding videos that surfaced online showing the reopening of the Townsend’s Inlet Bridge, July 25.

According to the release, the videos, which were posted to Facebook, show five go-carts crossing the Townsend’s Inlet Bridge.

Freeholder (Will) Morey, the board’s liaison to the county Engineer’s Office, was in one of those go-carts:

“I was disappointed to see the videos posted to the Facebook and to read all the negative comments related to the videos. I was unaware the bridge was to open a day earlier than the County previously released. Freeholder Morey did not communicate that change to the administrator or me. We also were not aware there would be a go-carts crossing the bridge ahead of regular business traffic.

Because of my 36 years of working with businesses and my time as an elected official, I am sensitive to the importance of the summer months to our local economy. I have spoken to members of the business community on both sides of the bridge as well as staff members who have had similar negative stories relayed to them regarding this incident.

The Townsends Inlet Bridge opening was two months late. It has greatly impacted travelers who use the bridge and businesses who rely on that bridge as a critical link that connects Sea Isle City and Avalon.  

The extended repair work has inconvenienced many people who work on both sides of the bridge for the past ten months. They have been extremely patient and understanding, this incident was unnecessary and insulting to those who have endured a hardship.

Therefore, as Freeholder Director, I want to apologize on behalf of the Freeholder Board to the residents, business owners, and tourists in Sea Isle City, Avalon, and Stone Harbor. While we are all happy the bridge is finally open, a two-month delay is not worthy of a celebration.

I also do not believe it is appropriate to have go-carts that are not allowed to operate on a county roadway, to be part of a private celebration at the expense of our taxpayers.

Internally, I plan to discuss this matter further with my colleagues on the freeholder board and key staff to ensure that better communication and consideration is taken related to these matters in the future.”

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