BELMAR, NJ — The Ocean Avenue bridge between Belmar and Avon-by-the-Sea will be closed to traffic beginning Monday, January 20 for a four-month emergency repair project, according to Monmouth County officials.

The emergency work, which involves replacing deteriorating steel pinions that support the 84-year-old bridge when it opens and closes, is expected to be completed by the Memorial Day weekend.

Since the bridge over the Shark River will remain in the open position during the project, the movable span will be closed to vehicles and pedestrians with limited marine traffic.

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Detour signs will be posted in both Belmar and Avon. The nearest alternate route would be using the Main Street bridge (Route 71) over the Shark River Inlet that connects both boroughs.

Monmouth County officials this week awarded the $494,000 contract for the project to Woodbury-based Cornell & Co., which specializes in the rehabilitation of major bridge structures, construction of new bridge systems and mass transit infrastructure reconstruction.

“Throughout the duration of the project, I plan on to work closely with county engineers to ensure that the bridge is ready for Memorial Day weekend,” said Monmouth County Freeholder Director Thomas Arnone, who serves as liaison to the county’s Department of Public Works and Engineering. “Safety and successful completion of this bridge maintenance project in a timely manner is my top priority.

Arnone said that the impact of past hurricanes on the state’s shoreline, including Sandy in 2012 and Irene in 2011, has contributed to the bridge’s decline — and the need for the emergency repairs, which were discovered during a routine inspection.