Delaware’s Congressional delegation will be hosting a public meeting this Thursday, March 8, to air views on the upcoming closing of the Reedy Point Bridge, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ Philadelphia District announced today. Officials from the Army Corps and the Delaware Department of Transportation will be on hand to explain the need for the repairs, answer questions and field public comments about the project. Delaware City Manager Richard Cathcart will moderate the meeting, which was called at the request of the offices of U.S. Senators Tom Carper and Chris Coons and U.S. Rep. John Carney. The meeting will begin at 7 p.m. in the community room of the Delaware City Public Library. The Army Corps plans to begin preventive safety repairs on the Reedy Point Bridge, a cantilever truss bridge that carries two lanes of Delaware Route 9 over the Chesapeake & Delaware Canal, in April 2012.
In order to complete the necessary repairs, both lanes of the bridge will have to be closed, the Army Corps said. The Corps’ objective is to finish work this fall before the onset of harsh weather.
"For safety reasons, we need to close both lanes of the bridge. This will also expedite the construction, which would have taken over a year to complete if we closed only one lane at a time," said Timothy Kelly, the Corps’ project manager for the Chesapeake & Delaware Canal. "There will be a procedure in place to allow emergency vehicles and responders to cross the bridge during the construction period," Kelly said.
The purpose of Thursday’s meeting is to explain the project, answer citizens’ questions and listen to their comments and suggestions. A final decision on the details of the work plan will be made after officials have had time to digest and evaluate the public input. Repairs will be made to welds, deteriorated steel members and the wind linkage (metal connecting the approach span to the main span of the bridge). Lead paint will be removed and the bridge repainted, work that cannot be conducted in cold weather. A contract for the work, which is estimated to cost $8 million, has been awarded to Corcon Construction, of Lowellville, Ohio.
Traffic from the north will be directed to DE Route 1 southbound to US Route 13 southbound via Exit 148. Once on US Route 13 southbound, traffic will be directed to turn left at Pole Bridge Road which becomes Port Penn Road. The detour ends on Port Penn Road at the intersection with Liberty Street (DE Route 9).
Traffic from the south will be directed to US Route 13 via Port Penn Road. Traffic will turn right onto northbound US Route 13 from Port Penn Road, turn left at the next traffic signal to enter onto northbound DE Route 1. Once on northbound DE Route 1, traffic will exit at DE Route 72 (Exit 152). Traffic will turn right at the top of the ramp and proceed straight through the next signalized intersection (US Route 13). The detour ends on DE Route 72 at the intersection with River Road (DE Route 9).
Local traffic within Delaware City will be detoured out of the town via Cox Neck Road. Traffic will turn right onto northbound US Route 13 and then turn left onto DE Route 72 and then turn left to enter DE Route 1 southbound. Traffic will follow the detour for southbound traffic from this point.
All businesses within Delaware City will be open during the project and signs along the detour route will note that all businesses are open.
The Philadelphia District maintains the Chesapeake & Delaware Canal navigation channel that connects the Delaware River to the Chesapeake Bay. Additionally, the District has the responsibility to maintain and operate four high-level highway crossings (Chesapeake City Bridge, Summit Bridge, St. George’s Bridge and Reedy Point Bridge) and one street bridge in Delaware City.
The District is also home to the North Atlantic Regional Center of Expertise for Bridge Inspection and Evaluation. This center is comprised of Army Corps structural experts who complete hands-on inspections of all the canal crossings every two years. The Reedy Point Bridge was last inspected in July 2010, at which point the needed repairs were identified.
Construction on the Reedy Point Bridge was last done in 1999 when $888,000 was spent on miscellaneous steel repairs. In 1995, $2.5 million was spent on anchor and deck span repairs and painting. The bridge was originally constructed in 1969.
For more information on the Philadelphia District’s work at the Chesapeake & Delaware Canal, visit the Facebook page.