The Army Corps of Engineers reversed its original decision to close the bridge over the C&D Canal throughout the construction period, following complaints from local residents.
Construction on the bridge has been modified to allow at least one lane of traffic over the bridge on weekends. During the week, all lanes will be closed. The original plan called for the bridge that carries traffic on Rt. 9 over the Chesapeake and Delaware Canal to close for the duration of the construction work.
The updated schedule will still require the bridge to be closed for two 3-week periods — one over the summer and one this fall. Those 3-week closures will include two consecutive weekends, but the contractor, Corcon Construction, will schedule those to avoid conflicts with major events in the area including Delaware City Day and the NASCAR race weekends in Dover.
Delaware’s Congressional delegation praised the decision as evidence that the corps listened and responded to the concerns of residents in the area who feared the economic harm that would accompany the closing of the bridge. “It’s important that the Army Corps of Engineers, DelDOT, and local communities work together to find a way to quickly do this critical work while not drastically impeding tourism and much-needed revenue for businesses located in Delaware City and Port Penn,” said Sen. Tom Carper, D-Del.
The $8 million construction work includes repairing welds and deteriorated steel members of the bridge, as well as removing lead paint from the structure. The bridge will then be covered by new corrosion protection. The work is expected to be done by the end of 2012.