BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Closed for the summer. That’s the word on the 495 bridge in Delaware, used by many during the busy summer travel season.
Mike Hellgren has more on the impact this long closure could have on our travel plans.
It’s going to be closed at least through Labor Day but the bridge may have to be torn down if the repairs don’t work. At least 100,000 people use it every day. There’s problems in the soil and a crack in the foundation that’s causing it to tilt.
“Hell on wheels,” said one person.
A crew discovered the bridge was tilting and repairs will take months, meaning headaches for travelers.
“We’re going to experience big city traffic on I-95 for the summer,” said Transportation Secretary Shailen Bhatt.
Soil near the bridge shifted, causing a crack in concrete and damage to steel pilings.
This and the I-70 bridge raise questions about the infrastructure.
“Time spent sitting in traffic because of detours or because of the bridge being down has a huge impact economically and globally,” said Rep. Patrick Meehan.
In the case of the Delaware Bridge, a man said he called 911 in April to report it but nothing was done.
The federal government mandates all bridges be tested every two years. There’s no evidence of problems in either bridge.
“We are going to run down 100 percent as to could we have reacted better,” said Bhatt.
Delaware officials are also moving forward with a repaving project on 95, meaning a double headache for travelers in that region.
It’s going to cost at least $20 million to fix the problem.
One in nine bridges nationwide is considered structurally deficient.
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