Officials in Delaware are hoping by Labor Day to reopen the southbound lanes of the Interstate 495 bridge that spans the Christina River in Wilmington. The state DOT closed the bridge June 2 after inspectors found that four bridge piers had tilted out of alignment – perhaps as a result of tons of soil piled up around them.
Delaware Transportation Secretary Shailen Bhatt said the northbound lanes could open a few weeks after Labor Day.
Officials recently selected a project manager and firm to make the fixes. Aecom and J.D. Eckman Inc. will construct new concrete-filled shafts down to the bedrock that holds the columns, according to a press release. Temporary jacks will then restore the piers to their original position. Once testing ensures the bridge is safe for travel, the companies will construct permanent concrete columns to replace the temporary jacks.
DelDOT says the temporary fix will cost $20 million, but the permanent fix has not yet been budgeted.
I-495 remains closed from Terminal Avenue to 12th Street.
Through traffic is using I-95, I-295 and the New Jersey Turnpike, while trucks accessing the Port of Wilmington are using I-295.
Prior to the closure, approximately 90,000 vehicles used the I-495 bridge each day.
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