Thursday, February 17, 2011

Strathmere Improvement Association - SIA Newsletter - February 17, 2011

In this issue: Trash Collection; Vote Saturday; New Township Tax; Freeholder Request; Bridge Railings; Babysitters;

Remember that because of the Presidents' Day Holiday, trash will not be collected until Tuesday, and recycling will have to wait until February 28...

We'll send out "refrigerator door" information in a few months. In the meantime, here is trash and rubbish collection information on the Township website. -


If you are registered to vote in Strathmere (actually, anywhere in New Jersey), elections for Fire Commissioners will be held this Saturday, February 19. Strathmere elections will be at the Firehouse and the polls will be open from 2:00 pm until 6:00 pm. Please vote!

Upper Township held another budget workshop on Monday, February 14. While they did cut the proposed budget somewhat, it looks virtually certain that we will have a local purpose tax this year, for the first time since 1954. Under the latest proposal, a home in Strathmere assessed at $1 million would see a new Township Municipal Tax of $950 per year, in addition to the school and county taxes. Final decision on the level of the new Township tax rate awaits information on the changes in NJ State aid to municipalities...


Butch sent a letter to the Board of Chosen Freeholders of Cape May County, asking that speed limits be lowered and marked crosswalks be installed on Commonwealth Avenue (County Road 619). We'll keep you advised if and when they respond...


Unbeknownst to most of us, the Bridge Commission has been working on replacement railings for the Corson's Inlet Bridge for the last five years. They could not get the design they wanted to use approved for this bridge because it is "historic". The bids with a New Jersey-approved design came back last year significantly higher than expected, and the work (which is extremely labor-intensive) has now been redesigned to eliminate replacement railings on the bridge approaches, along with a few other changes to reduce costs.
At the Cape May County Bridge Commission Meeting this morning, a resolution was approved to advertise for the Re-Bid of the (permanent) railing replacements. These advertisements are expected to go out next week, with bids to be returned March 22, in time (hopefully) for Commission approval at their April meeting and the bid to be awarded immediately thereafter.
If all goes as planned, some preliminary work (relocation of utilities serving the toll booth) could be done over the summer, with the actual work on the railings to be started in September and completed by Memorial Day of 2012. The bridge will remain open during construction (no doubt with some delays here and there) and there will be no toll collection during that time.
The new railings will be almost identical to the "tubular" railings on the Great Channel Bridge (first bridge south of Stone Harbor), pictured below. One difference will be that the railings on our bridge will be galvanized prior to fabrication, which was not done on the ones shown here. You can see rust leakage at the joints, which hopefully can be avoided on our bridge.

In response to our question, Dale Foster, Engineer for both the County and the Bridge Commission, indicated that these replacement railings would have kept the Ford Expedition from going off the bridge.

An example of "Tubular" railings on the Great Channel Bridge (first bridge south of Stone Harbor)

We don't normally run advertisements in our newsletters, but we had a request from a member to see if we could help find a Strathmere babysitter for this summer.
We agreed to post this announcement and ask that anyone (or their children) interested in doing babysitting reply to this e-mail -  We will in turn provide your e-mail address to interested SIA members, with whatever restrictions you request, and of course to no one else. We suggest that an adult oversee any resulting babysitting interviews...


This isn't an advertisement, but kind of a "plug" for a relatively new community-based website called It was started in Connecticut in 2007 and purchased by AOL in 2009, with a promise to spend $50 million or more on the new venture. As of last December, Patch had established "hyperlocal" sites in more than 500 communities across the United States. They obviously hope to make a go of it by selling ads on the websites, and it remains to be seen how successful that will be. Here is their homepage - where you can find links for towns from Basking Ridge to West Deptford and from Havertown to West Chester.
The reason we bring it up here is that during the bridge closure, the Ocean City Patch website had quite a bit of up-to-date information on what was going on, including information from readers, so you may wish to check it out and make it one of your "favorites". This, of course, would be in addition to our hometown Strathmere Blogspot.

Thanks for your support of the Strathmere Improvement Association!
Butch Vandegrift - President
Linda Bateman -Vice-President
Donna Diefenderfer - Treasurer
Dorothy Addario - Recording Secretary
Ken Weaver - Corresponding Secretary

Monday, February 14, 2011

SIA Newsletter - February 14, 2011 - The Bridge Is Open!

The Bridge opened today (Monday) at 9:45. Finally!

Actually, it's hard to blame anyone for the timing - only that the communications were a little fogged up...
We saw activity on the bridge Wednesday morning, and then nothing until Saturday. Turns out you can't buy those posts and railings - they had to be fabricated in Allied Painting's shop in Cherry Hill and it took until Friday. They then worked all day Saturday and Sunday (into the dark Sunday), completing it and passing inspection this morning.

Here are the newly fabricated posts and railings ready for installation on Saturday:

Drilling holes for the posts on Saturday

Installing the rails on Sunday...

The finished product (Monday morning).

Removing the barricades ("Tear down that wall!").

The Bridge Commission website has the "Open" announcement:

Next step: the Commission meets Thursday morning to consider new bids on total replacement of the railings. It's not clear if they have the money to do it regardless of how low the bids are...


Thanks for your support of the Strathmere Improvement Association!

Butch Vandegrift - President
Linda Bateman -Vice-President
Donna Diefenderfer - Treasurer
Dorothy Addario - Recording Secretary
Ken Weaver - Corresponding Secretary

Friday, February 11, 2011

SIA Newsletter - February 11, 2011 - Bridge May not Open Until Tuesday (2/15)

Still no change in the bridge!

We have seen no activity on the bridge since what looked like a survey team was up there Wednesday morning.
With a call to the Bridge Commission this afternoon, we learned that they have been told the contractor is having difficulty obtaining materials for the temporary repairs and the contractor told the Commission today that repairs would take until Tuesday.

The Bridge Commission website (below) says that the bridge will open late on Saturday (tomorrow), but it sounds like they have just not updated it with this latest information...

Don't slay the messenger!!

Thanks for your support of the Strathmere Improvement Association!

Butch Vandegrift - President
Linda Bateman -Vice-President
Donna Diefenderfer - Treasurer
Dorothy Addario - Recording Secretary
Ken Weaver - Corresponding Secretary

According to the Cape May County Bridge Commission -

From their website as of 2/11 -

The Corsons Inlet Bridge, connecting Ocean City with Strathmere, remains closed to traffic. Emergency repairs are being made to the bridge. The completion of the repairs and the re-opening of the bridge is now scheduled for late in the day on Saturday February 12. For more information, feel free to contact the Commission at 609-465-7806 during regular business hours.

Personally, I wouldn't count on it being open in time. If you're going to Strathmere, go in through Sea Isle.

Wednesday, February 09, 2011

SIA Newsletter - February 8, 2011 - Bridge Should Be Open By Saturday

Here's our bridge today:

And here is an article that was in today's Press of Atlantic City, indicating that temporary repairs on the railing should begin tomorrow and complete on Friday.

Hope they're correct!

Again, you can check to see when the bridge opens at the Bridge Commission website here:


Thanks again for your support of the Strathmere Improvement Association!

Butch Vandegrift - President
Linda Bateman -Vice-President
Donna Diefenderfer - Treasurer
Dorothy Addario - Recording Secretary
Ken Weaver - Corresponding Secretary

Monday, February 07, 2011

Corson’s Inlet Bridge Set to Reopen Friday

From the Cape may County Herald - by Al Campbell’s+inlet+bridge+set+reopen+friday

STRATHMERE — Corson’s Inlet Bridge, linking this Upper Township community and Ocean City via Ocean Drive, will tentatively reopen Fri., Feb. 11 after emergency repairs to replace a rusted railing through which a Sea Isle City teen brother and sister’s vehicle crashed Tue., Feb. 1. That left a gaping hole temporarily fixed by county crews.

On Mon., Feb. 7, the Cape May County Bridge Commission met in emergency session to award the repair contract.

According to commission Executive Director Stephen O’Connor, the commission solicited proposals from qualified contractors who “have a successful history of doing work for the county.”

The lower of two bidders was Allied Painting, Inc. of Cherry Hill. Its bid was $19,400, with a four-day completion.

The other bid was submitted by IEW Construction Group, Inc. of Trenton. Its bid was $24,875, with work to be done in 10 days.
“We expect the repairs to be made and the bridge reopened Friday,” O’Connor stated.

Chairman William Henfey convened the emergency meeting after a required “Sunshine” notice had been sent on Thur., Feb. 3 to the Herald. The meeting took place at the commission’s headquarters, 153 Crest Haven Road, Crest Haven.

On Oct. 19, the county Bridge Commission received bids from five contractors to repair Corson's Inlet Bridge.

Those base bids ranged from $3.36 million to $4.4 million.

All were rejected, since they came in $1 million higher than the commission expected, O’Connor confirmed.

At 12:54 p.m. Feb. 1, State Police at Woodbine station received a call that a vehicle had crashed on Strathmere (Corson’s Inlet) Bridge.

In the interim, alert Strathmere residents heard the crash, and quickly reacted, grabbing blankets to warm the crash victims.
Police reported that, for an unknown reason, the 2006 Ford Expedition, operated by Nicole Crudele, 18, of Sea Isle City, a senior at Ocean City High School, and in which her brother, Michael, 18, was a passenger, veered off the bridge deck and plunged into the 36-degree back bay water.

The siblings, niece and nephew of Freeholder Vice Director and Sea Isle City Mayor Leonard Desiderio, safely exited the sunken vehicle, and swam to safety. On the beach, residents aided them.

Both were transported to by Ocean City Fire Rescue AtlantiCare Regional Medical Center, City Division for non-life threatening injuries, which included lacerations and exposure.

The vehicle was recovered by N.J. State Police T.E.A .M.S. Unit, Strathmere Fire Company, N.J. State Park Police and Cape May County Road Department.

Also responding were N.J. State Police Marine Bureau, Sea Isle City Police, and Ocean City Fire Department.
Cape May County Engineer Dale Foster responded to the scene, and after surveying the damage, ordered the bridge closed, pending a thorough inspection and repairs.

Trooper Jason Barker headed the investigation.

Contact Campbell at (609) 886-8600 Ext 28 or at:

Cape May County Bridge Commission to discuss Corsons Inlet Bridge

From the Press of Atlantic City -

Cape May County Bridge Commission to discuss Corsons Inlet Bridge

The Cape May County Bridge Commission is scheduled to have an emergency meeting today at 3:30 p.m.
The meeting, which follows the accident in which two Sea Isle City teens escaped serious injury after their vehicle crashed through bridge's rusted railings, will take place at 153 Crest Haven Road in Cape May Court House.

Click here to read coverage of the accident
According to the commission's web site, the meeting will focus on the situation regarding the bridge.
Emergency repair contracts are expected to be awarded during the meeting.

Link to Story on Press of AC website

Wednesday, February 02, 2011

SIA Newsletter - February 1, 2011 - SUV Goes Off Our Bridge!

This issue will deal only with an accident that could have been tragic but ended with the car's occupants getting out safely.

At lunchtime today, Sea Isle City twins Michael and Nicole Crudele, seniors at Ocean City High School and nephew and niece of SIC Mayor Len Desiderio, were returning home from school when their Ford Expedition went out of control on the toll bridge over the Strathmere Bay, jumped the curb, careened through the railing on the northeast side, hung there and then plunged into the bay, sinking immediately in some fifteen feet of water. Luckily, they were both able to escape through broken windows and swim to shore (it was low tide). They were helped by residents and then taken to AtlantiCare Regional Medical Center in Atlantic City. Michael was released and Nicole will probably be released tomorrow.

The bridge remains closed while temporary repairs are made to the railing.

Here is the view from the Deauville Beach House at 1:30. The kids have already gone.

Speculating here: it appears the SUV came around the toll booth, started to brake on this side, and skidded on the wet metal grid (there was no icing at the time).
The SUV then jumped that curb, took out both a traffic light pole (like the one left of the toll booth) and a heavy traffic control box before going through the railing and into the bay.

There's where they went through...

Pulling the traffic light pole back up...

Divers prepare to go after the car...

But first they have to pull out that traffic control box.

Here it is; several newscasts showed video of this in the water and said it was the car.

That thing is heavy!

Now back for the car (so deep it could not be seen from the bridge - only bubbles).

Once the car was "hooked", it was winched in part way but the strain became too much.

The front end loader was used to provide some upward force on the winch line...

Here it comes!


Soooo, lucky....

The divers...

Meanwhile, temporary barriers are erected at the opening...

Luckily, they were able to escape through the broken windows...


A deployed airbag.

Wires where the traffic control box had been...

And off it goes....

As you can imagine, this got a lot of coverage.
The Press of Atlantic City has a good article here; Channel 40 coverage here, and Channel 6 here (Channel 6 pictures by Grace Curran - there was video on the news, but doesn't seem to be any here).

It could have been so much worse...!

Butch Vandegrift - President

Linda Bateman -Vice-President
Donna Diefenderfer - Treasurer
Dorothy Addario - Recording Secretary
Ken Weaver - Corresponding Secretary

Tuesday, February 01, 2011

Brother and sister survive 30-foot plunge off Corson's Inlet bridge

The Strathmere Bridge will be closed several days for repair, so you'll need to get there via Sea Isle.

Photos from the Press of Atlantic City -