Indian River Inlet Bridge

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Indian River Inlet Bridge
Indian River Inlet Bridge looking south.jpg
Indian River Inlet Bridge looking south
Official name Charles W. Cullen Bridge
Carries 4 lanes of DE 1, pedestrians, and bicycles
Crosses Indian River Inlet
Locale Sussex County, Delaware
Maintained by Delaware Department of Transportation
Design Cable-stayed bridge
Total length 2,600 feet (790 m)
Width 107.66 feet (32.81 m)
Longest span 950 feet (290 m)
Clearance below 45 feet (14 m)
Opened January 20, 2012
Coordinates 38°36′29″N 75°3′49″W / 38.60806°N 75.06361°W / 38.60806; -75.06361
Indian River Inlet Bridge is located in Delaware
Indian River Inlet Bridge
Location of the bridge within the state of Delaware

The Indian River Inlet Bridge (officially the Charles W. Cullen Bridge) is a cable-stayed bridge located in Sussex County, Delaware in the United States. It carries four lanes of Delaware Route 1 (DE 1) over the Indian River Inlet between the Indian River Bay and the Atlantic Ocean. The bridge is within Delaware Seashore State Park between Rehoboth Beach and Bethany Beach. The Indian River Inlet Bridge is maintained by the Delaware Department of Transportation (DelDOT). The bridge is 2,600 feet (790 m) long and 107.66 feet (32.81 m) wide, with a span of 950 feet (290 m) and overhead clearance of 45 feet (14 m).

Prior to the current bridge, four other bridges have existed over the Indian River Inlet at this location, built in 1934, 1938, 1952, and 1965. The 1965 bridge, a steel girder bridge, was subject to scouring from the inlet, leading to the need to replace it. Initial plans for an arch bridge over the inlet in 2004 were over budget. Construction on the current bridge began in 2008 as part of a design-build project, with Skanska awarded the contract to build the bridge. The current Indian River Inlet Bridge opened in January 2012 at a cost of $150 million.

Description[edit]

The Indian River Inlet Bridge crosses the Indian River Inlet connecting the Atlantic Ocean to the east and the Indian River Bay to the west. The bridge is located within Delaware Seashore State Park and carries DE 1 between Rehoboth Beach to the north and Bethany Beach to the south. It carries four lanes of traffic and a 12-foot (3.7 m) wide sidewalk for pedestrians and bicycles.[1]

The Indian River Inlet Bridge is a cable-stayed bridge, consisting of four pylon towers with 152 stays supporting the bridge.[1] The pylons are located on land in order to avoid erosion from the inlet.[2] The bridge has a total length of 2,600 feet (790 m) and a total width of 107.66 feet (32.81 m). The span of the bridge is 950 feet (290 m) with an overhead clearance of 45 feet (14 m). The height of the pylon towers is 247.5 feet (75.4 m) above sea level.[3] The bridge has a fiber-optic system that monitors it for issues that could affect its structural integrity. The Indian River Inlet Bridge is designed to last 100 years.[4]

Indian River Inlet Bridge shot from 2,000 ft.

The bridge is officially named the Charles W. Cullen Bridge in honor of Charles W. Cullen, a lawyer and judge from Georgetown that served on the Delaware Supreme Court between 1890 and 1897. He later served as chairman of the Delaware State Highway Commission between 1938 and 1939, during which time he oversaw construction of the second bridge to span the Indian River Inlet, replacing a 1934 timber bridge. That bridge had been dedicated the Charles W. Cullen Bridge, but became popularly known as the Indian River Inlet Bridge.[5]

History[edit]

The Indian River Inlet Bridge under construction in 2011

Several bridges have been constructed across the Indian River Inlet. The first was a timber bridge built in 1934; it was replaced by a concrete and steel swing bridge in 1938. This swing bridge was destroyed by ice and tides in 1948, with another swing bridge completed in 1952.[6] The next bridge to be constructed at this site was a steel girder bridge that was built in 1965. Inlet currents led to the scouring of the piers of the 1965 bridge.[4] DelDOT began scour countermeasures on the bridge in 1989. The bridge was rated as structurally deficient and could have been jeopardized by one severe storm.[7]

In 2004, plans were made to replace the bridge with an arch span that would have been the longest in the world. However, the proposed bridge was to cost $200 million, $50 million above the budget. DelDOT put bids out for a design–build project for the new bridge in 2006.[7]

In August 2008, Skanska was awarded the $150-million design–build contract to build the new bridge as a cable-stayed bridge.[2] Skanska started driving test pilings into the ground in the later part of 2008. In May 2009, public votes for the aesthetic design bridges had decided that the cables will be blue, the pylon tops will be slanted with railings, and the lighting fixtures for the walkway will be nautical-themed.[8] The test pilings for the bridge were completed in June 2009.[9] Construction of the pylons began in July 2009 with the pouring of concrete into the first pylon.[10] By December 2009, construction began on the approach foundations and the edge girders, with work continuing on the pylon towers and the side abutments.[11] The completion of the design phase of the project and the beginning of the concrete pour for the bridge deck took place in April 2010.[12] In May 2010, the bridge received $1.79 million in federal funding for the pedestrian and bike paths.[13] By this time, the new Indian River Inlet bridge was about halfway complete.[13]

The Indian River Inlet Bridge in 2012. The steel girder bridge built in 1965 is in the foreground.

On January 28, 2011, DelDOT filed a lawsuit against bridge design firm Figg Bridge Engineers and subconsultant MACTEC Engineering and Consulting for geotechnical errors.[14] In February 2011, DelDOT awarded George & Lynch an $11.6 million contract to build the approach roads to the new Indian River Inlet Bridge as well as to demolish the old bridge.[15] A minor fire occurred on the north side of the bridge construction site; no damage was reported to the bridge structure.[16] The north side of the bridge was finished in August 2011 when the form travelers were removed.[17]

The new Indian River Inlet Bridge opened to southbound traffic on January 20, 2012. Delaware Governor Jack Markell, U.S. Senator Tom Carper, and DelDOT Secretary Shailen Bhatt rode in the first car across the bridge.[18] On January 30, 2012, one northbound lane of the new bridge opened.[18][19] Over 250 people were employed in the construction of the bridge.[3] All four lanes of the bridge as well as the pedestrian and bicycle walkway opened in Spring 2012.[18] Demolition of the 1965 bridge began in Spring 2012 and was completed in Spring 2013.[19]

On May 6, 2012, the Indian River Inlet Bridge was officially dedicated in a public ceremony, in which visitors were able to walk across the bridge.[20]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Nelson, Eric T. (Winter 2012). "Indian River Inlet Bridge - Surviving the Storms". Aspire. Retrieved April 17, 2012. 
  2. ^ a b "Indian River Inlet Bridge Test Pile Driving To Occur Later This Month". Delaware Department of Transportation. November 18, 2008. Retrieved April 17, 2012. 
  3. ^ a b "Indian River Inlet Bridge - Bridge Facts". Delaware Department of Transportation. Retrieved April 17, 2012. 
  4. ^ a b Shenton, Harry and Keith Chandler (November 2011). "Delaware Bridge Incorporates fiber-optic corrosion monitoring". Materials Performance. Retrieved April 17, 2012. 
  5. ^ "Who Is Charles W. Cullen?". Delaware Department of Transportation. Retrieved May 16, 2012. 
  6. ^ O'Shea, Dennis (October 26, 2006). "Replacing Indian River Inlet bridge a vital project". Cape Gazette. p. 7. Retrieved April 17, 2012. 
  7. ^ a b MacArthur, Ron (August 9, 2007). "DelDOT officials say inlet bridge is safe". Cape Gazette. p. 1. Retrieved April 17, 2012. 
  8. ^ "Deciding Votes Cast For Indian River Inlet Bridge Aesthetic Design Features". Delaware Department of Transportation. May 14, 2009. Retrieved April 17, 2012. 
  9. ^ "Indian River Inlet Bridge Summer Construction Announced". Delaware Department of Transportation. June 11, 2009. Retrieved April 17, 2012. 
  10. ^ "Massive Nighttime Concrete Pour Planned For New Indian River Inlet Bridge". Delaware Department of Transportation. July 30, 2009. Retrieved April 17, 2012. 
  11. ^ "New Indian River Inlet Bridge Construction Update As 2009 Comes To A Close". Delaware Department of Transportation. December 22, 2009. Retrieved April 17, 2012. 
  12. ^ "First Deck Pour And Other Successes On Indian River Inlet Bridge". Delaware Department of Transportation. April 29, 2010. Retrieved April 17, 2012. 
  13. ^ a b "DelDOT Awarded $1.79 Million In Funding For Indian River Inlet Bridge Bike and Pedestrian Paths". Delaware Department of Transportation. May 20, 2010. Retrieved April 17, 2012. 
  14. ^ Staff (February 1, 2011). "Timing of Indian River bridge lawsuit questioned". Dover Post. Retrieved April 17, 2012. 
  15. ^ "Indian River Inlet Bridge Roadway Approach Contract Awarded". Delaware Department of Transportation. February 4, 2011. Retrieved April 17, 2012. 
  16. ^ "Statement About Overnight Fire at the Bridge". Delaware Department of Transportation. February 10, 2011. Retrieved April 17, 2012. 
  17. ^ "Traveler Successfully Removed from Northside of IR Inlet Bridge". WGMD. August 15, 2011. Retrieved April 17, 2012. 
  18. ^ a b c "Indian River Inlet Bridge Open to Traffic". State of Delaware. January 20, 2012. Retrieved April 17, 2012. 
  19. ^ a b "Indian River Inlet Bridge". Delaware Department of Transportation. Retrieved April 17, 2012. 
  20. ^ Koch, Andrew (May 6, 2012). "Charles W. Cullen Bridge dedicated; public impressed during walkover". WGMD. Retrieved May 16, 2012. 

External links[edit]