Indian River Bridge Update

by Dave on June 5, 2009

As first seen in Coastal Sussex Weekly, May 21, 2009:

Despite some well-publicized false starts and more than a few million dollars down the tubes, the Indian River Inlet Bridge project is rising from the ground at this very moment.

“Skanska USA Civil Southeast, Inc. is the bridge contractor,” says DelDOT spokesperson Tina Shockley. “They are world renowned in the construction industry, and had the highest technical score with the shortest construction timeframe. They are a great group of people to work with.”

So what’s going on right now as drivers see the big machinery and piledrivers working on the site?

“They are currently working on completing their test pile program,” reports  Shockley, “which is a test they do on a pile to determine how much capacity/weight/support it can withstand. They are gathering data from the tests which they will ultimately use in the construction.  Most of the test piles they are putting in the ground will become a part of the permanent structure.”

While you’ll see activity on site, the majority of the work is behind the scenes designing the bridge. Since this is a design-build contract, Skanska is designing the bridge during the first phase of the project.  The design is about 60% complete. DelDOT expects the design will be complete in 2009 and construction will accelerate.

Skanska is bringing many workers to the site, and will employ some locals as well. This in turns means an economic boost for the local economy.

“This is significant,” says DelDOT’s Director of Public Relations Darrel Cole.  “More than 100 workers will at the peak be working on this bridge, many from Skanska, but also from the local area. Already, Skanska has contracted with Thorogood Cement and many other local companies. Eventually they will be hiring some local labor and other contractors. Skanska employees are also taking up temporary residence in the area with their families, renting homes or apartments, which means they are spending money in the local economy.”

One of the unique things about this project is that the public is having input on some features of how the bridge will look. On May 14th, DelDOT and Skanska announced the winners of the public vote on three aesthetic design features: the color of the cable stays (blue), the style of the top of the pylons (slanted top with railings) and the lighting fixture design for the pedestrian walkway (nautical).

“We believe this is the people’s bridge and they should have some say in how it looks,” says Shockley.  “We have received positive feedback for our presentation/workshop and progress on the bridge construction.”

The bridge is expected to be ready to go in the spring or summer of 2011. Visit IRIB.DelDOT.gov for more details.

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