Delaware’s I-495 reopens north and south; bridge repairs beat Labor Day deadline

(file/NewsWorks)

(file/NewsWorks)

Interstate 495 through Delaware is now open in both directions. 

Delaware’s Dept. of Transportation reports that bridge repairs have been made so that traffic can once again freely move without restrictions.

The highway opened just before 3:30 p.m. Saturday when the final barrels were rolled out of the way so traffic could resume.

50,000 tons of dirt dumped against the columns below the bridge caused a tilt in the roadway. Officials closed the span on June 2. The southbound lanes were reopened on July 31. DelDOT officials had hoped to reopen the roadway by Labor Day.

Officials report the jacking up of the support columns to realign the road went smoother than anticipated. State officials sent out a news release expressing their relief that the road is operational again.

“Fully reopening this vital economic link in Delaware and along the northeast in less than three months is a testament to the hard work and dedication of so many individuals,” said Gov. Jack Markell, D-Delaware.

DelDOT Secretary Shailen Bhatt said permanent bridge repairs are still being carried out.  He thanked the cooperation of federal and state agencies for helping to speed up the repair process.

Delaware’s congressional delegation echoed the comments of Governor Markell. 

“Achieving the goals of completing the project under deadline is an impressive feat, when you think about how many teams worked on this project,” said Sen. Chris Coons, D-Delaware, sharing the governor’s enthusiasm.

Congressman John Carney added that he couldn’t wait to see the entire I-495 span appear on Google Maps. Google had removed the closed part of the road so that GPS links would direct motorists through the detours that were set up through some Wilmington neighborhoods during the closure.

The final price tag for the highway fix hasn’t been determined. DelDOT officials observed that more costs would have been added to the project had the early schedule not been met.  They note that a permanent fix should be completed by the end of the year.

DelDot traffic cams are online.

Want a digest of WHYY’s programs, events & stories? Sign up for our weekly newsletter.

It will take 126,000 members this year for great news and programs to thrive. Help us get to 100% of the goal.