Indian River Inlet Bridge Open to Traffic
First passengers include Gov. Markell, Sen. Carper, Sec. Bhatt;
All lanes to be open in spring
In an event commemorating the historic opening of the gleaming-new structure, Governor Jack Markell, U.S. Senator Tom Carper (D-Del.) and Department of Transportation (DelDOT) Secretary Shailen Bhatt drove the first passenger vehicle over the bridge.
Effective today, one lane of southbound traffic will be open. In the next several days, one northbound lane will be open to vehicular traffic. Demolition work will then begin on the old bridge. In the coming months, Delaware contractor George & Lynch will complete the roadway approaches on the remaining two lanes on the northbound side of the bridge in preparation for a spring 2012 opening for all four lanes and the pedestrian and bikeway.
“Bridges are about connecting people and commerce,” said Governor Jack Markell. “We depend on bridges to help us get from one place to another. This new bridge helps move goods and services, Delawareans and visitors. It’s one of the most important bridges in our state and a vital link for people driving to vacation destinations, businesses and jobs along the coast.”
The $150 million bridge was erected by Skanska Southeast under a design-build contract with DelDOT. Sixty Delaware business have been suppliers to the project. The bridge is 2,600 feet long, 108 feet wide and situated 45 feet above the inlet.
“This long-awaited day marks the opening of the Indian River Inlet Bridge connecting Sussex County communities along the coast,” said U.S. Sen. Tom Carper (D-Del.) “The bridge will welcome visitors to the southern beach resorts and ensure local residents can continue to get to work, school and to the hospital. This state and federally funded infrastructure project will ensure safe travel for now and into the next century. ”
“For DelDOT, this milestone is more than just a big day,” said Transportation Secretary Shailen Bhatt. “It is a time when we can reflect on the virtues and rewards of teamwork. This project is just one example of the great things DelDOT is doing and will continue to do as we keep working toward a world-class multi-modal transportation system for the people of Delaware.”