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I'll post Delaware road related articles here. Comments welcomed.

Tests begin for new Indian River bridge
Builder seeks to avoid errors of first design

By MOLLY MURRAY - The News Journal - February 11, 2009

Preliminary work on the $150 million Indian River bridge is starting with the basics -- a series of test pilings and load reviews to make sure the new bridge has a solid base.

And on Tuesday, Jay Erwin, project engineer with design-build contractor Skanska USA Civil Southeast Inc., said the first load test on the sample piling worked as expected.

State officials want to avoid any problems with this new bridge design.

In the fall of 2007, they were forced to abandon an earlier design because of compaction problems with two mounds of dirt that were built in preparation for construction of the bridge approaches. State engineers discovered that the massive dirt piles were shifting to the west by as much as a foot as they settled. They concluded it would take seven years for the mounds to compact enough for bridge construction to begin.

At the time, the setback was estimated to cost the state $20 million to $30 million. Much of the dirt had to be removed and trucked off site.

Erwin said the test piles are the first step in his company's construction schedule. Once they are installed and tested, permanent precast pilings -- 284 of them in all -- we be pounded into the ground to form the foundation for the bridge approaches.

Skanska designers plan a multi-step approach to building the bridge, working on each side of the bridge at the same time, he said.

Once the pilings are driven, the bridge supports -- including the pylons, piers and foundations -- will be laid. This work is expected to start this summer.

Erwin said having two separate crews work on each side of the bridge trims construction time.

"We think it leads to very healthy competition," he said.

Many of the structural components of the bridge are being built from pre-cast concrete that will come from Cape Charles, Va.-based Bayshore Concrete Products. The company is a subsidiary of Skanska.

Although many of the components will be precast, they are custom made to fit the Indian River Inlet Bridge, said Doug Robb, the project manager for the state Department of Transportation.

The bridge is expected to be completed in spring or summer of 2011. In addition to bridge construction, other work will also be done, including construction of roadways that will lead to the new bridge and reconstruction of Delaware Seashore State Park facilities that were closed to provide a staging area for bridge construction.

Once the new bridge is complete, state officials plan to demolish the old bridge.

Meanwhile, Robb said, state officials continue to do extensive testing and monitoring on the current bridge to make sure it is structurally sound.

"We believe this is one of the most monitored bridges in the country," he said. "The good news is we're seeing stabilization of erosion."

The old bridge has pilings that extend into Indian River Inlet. Rapid movement of water through the inlet has washed away sediment from the pilings and created a series of deep holes. State officials brought in stone to stabilize the pilings and to limit erosion. But they continue to run extensive tests, including special sensors that detect whether the bridge is tilting.

The new bridge won't have pilings that extend into Indian River Inlet. It will be 2,600 feet long, including a 900-foot clear span over the inlet, with 1,700 feet of bridge over land. The bridge will be supported by cable stays in a design similar to the William V. Roth Bridge over the Chesapeake & Delaware Canal.


--- Quote from: froggie on February 12, 2009, 10:30:04 PM ---Speaking of Delaware...I noticed this evening that DelDOT is using "bubble shields" on I-495...

--- End quote ---

Interstate 495 went from vastly no reassurance shields, many of which had white cardinal direction banners, to an overhaul with consistent bubble shields in 2000. The signing of those shields were done in conjunction with the project to shut down Interstate 95 for repaving (when they closed a direction three months at a time). DelDOT wanted to emphasize Interstate 495 as the through route. This is also why the signs on the southbound I-95/495 split in Pennsylvania still display "Thru Traffic" and "Local Traffic" (PennDOT has not gotten the message!).

Toll Road News article: Stimulus $s to bring open road tolling to Delaware's I-95 toll plaza

This article talks about the reconstruction of the Delaware Turnpike toll plaza to accommodate open road tolling (2x2) lanes down the middle. They've talked about reconfiguring this plaza for years, and the article indicates that work could begin in 2011 or 2012, so its still a couple more years away...

When I was last in Delaware, there were daily back-ups southbound on several days all the way to the Delaware Service Plaza (even toward late evening). To me, this is unacceptable, but I suppose the traveling public there has come to accept it as normal. Because of this, I did not use Interstate 95 once between Exit 109 in Maryland and Exit 3 in Delaware.


--- Quote from: aaroads on February 16, 2009, 02:16:04 PM ---I did not use Interstate 95 once between Exit 109 in Maryland and Exit 3 in Delaware.

--- End quote ---
I can't remember the last time I actually drove THROUGH the toll booths in Delaware, especially with a free alternate available with little or no time penalty.

No one that I know of actually goes through the toll plaza, unless they did it to clinch that stretch of highway. I've done it about 4 times since 1990.

I've thought about posting a map for those who want to avoid the toll road.  :) There are a couple of routes to take, the main is using the state routes, but I have a couple of others I frequent when back in Newark when visiting family in Elkton.

Unfortunately my favorite, which utilizes Otts Otts Chapel Road and Welsh Tract Road (which takes you over Interstate 95 twice), is changing for the worse as the woods on Welsh Tract Road near its eastbound beginning have succumbed to brand new sprawl.  :-(


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