TOMS RIVER — A heavily-traveled bridge that carries visitors to the Jersey Shore area was closed Saturday due to a malfunction, causing major traffic delays, according to police.

Mathis Bridge between Toms River and Seaside Heights (NJDOT)

The Mathis Bridge WAS closed due to a malfunction that began at 4 p.m., according to Toms River Police spokesperson Ralph Stocco. It was re-opened just after 6 p.m.

"The drawbridge is stuck in the open position and cannot be closed to allow vehicular traffic to pass. There are very heavy traffic delays and detours are set up," Stocco said Saturday afternoon.

Stocco said the shutdown caused problems for drivers traveling east into Seaside Heights. He said police urged motorists to avoid entering Seaside Heights via Route 37 East in Toms River.

"The only other way to reach the Barrier Island, Lavallette, Seaside Park, and Seaside Heights is from the towns to our north such as Brick and Point Pleasant," he said.

As a result of the closure, secondary roads also experienced traffic delays. Drivers were still able to leave the area via Route 37 heading west, but Stocco said they also experienced delays.

Toniann Antonelli is a social content producer for NJ 101.5. She can be reached at toniann.antonelli@townsquaremedia.com, or on Twitter @ToniRadio1015.