The Delaware Department of Transportation said Wednesday that part of the I-495 bridge could open early, perhaps before Labor Day. Previous projections put the bridge opening sometime after the holiday.
The I-495 bridge has been closed since early June, when support columns for the bridge — which carries I-495 over the Christina River — were found to have tilted.
DelDOT is drilling 32 new shafts to create new support columns. That drilling is expected to be finished ahead of schedule, on Tuesday of next week, July 15th. Look how excited the press release is about it: “This is possible because the drilling operation has gone exceedingly well, and because all of the necessary personnel, material and equipment have converged from around the United States on the site when needed.” U-S-A! U-S-A!
Here’s more from DelDOT:
The second critical task is to build the jacking towers on the new foundations beneath the bridge and jack the misaligned deck components back into place. The jacking towers are being assembled now. Once completed, powerful jacks will be placed below the deck and the slow process of realignment will begin. How well this phase of the work will go is unknown, and the possibility does exist for setbacks or problems to occur, DelDOT cautions.
If there aren’t any problems, the bridge could open before Labor Day.
The tilting appears to have been caused by a large amount of dirt dumped under the bridge. There are calls for an investigation.