The rehabilitation of the Basin Road Bridge, near New Castle, notched an important milestone during the final week of 2017, prompting a related closure for the new year.
The Delaware Department of Transportation (DelDOT) made the announcement on December 28, 2017, that both directions of U.S. Route 13, North DuPont Highway, would be closed to through traffic during the first weekend of 2018.
The closure would assist the project's contractor, Mumford & Miller Concrete, Inc., with the ongoing bridge deck replacement on Basin Road, where it crosses over the busy corridor.
The project, which began in October 2017, was initiated to remedy a crumbling bridge deck, as well as to jack up the bridge, thereby eliminating frequent strikes by oversized trucks which pass underneath.
An original timeline of 45 days (for the full bridge closure) was first extended after the discovery of asbestos conduit pipe during demolition of the deck.
"The asbestos pipe was inside of the existing concrete of the sidewalk structure [on the deck]," C.R. McLeod, DelDOT's Director of Community Relations, revealed. "Anything with asbestos, there's a specific safety protocol that needs to be taken to make sure that it's abated and removed in a proper and safe manner."
Additionally, just like in the renovation of an old home, it was discovered that measurements included in the original plans of the 62-year-old bridge didn't match what was actually constructed. DelDOT would work with the contractor and its design consultant, McCormick & Taylor, to correct those issues before moving forward with the project.
"As you start taking walls down, you may find some faulty wiring, you may find a leaky pipe," McLeod illustrated by comparison. "Things that you have to address."
As of the final week of December 2017, demolition had been completed with the removal of the nearly 1200 feet of asbestos conduit. That accomplishment enabled a 500-ton crane to begin placing the pre-fabricated concrete panels that will comprise the new bridge deck.
With the crane already in place, DelDOT elected to keep it in operation, without interruption, so that crews could complete the placement of all deck panels in a shorter period.
As a result, the highway authority announced that, effective 8 p.m. on Friday, January 5, 2018, the northbound lanes of U.S. 13 would be closed underneath of the bridge. Subsequently, the southbound lanes would also be closed as of 6 a.m. on Saturday, January 6, 2018.
The work was expected to be completed by 5 a.m. on Monday, January 8, and, during the weekend closure, motorists were asked to utilize existing detours in order to access local businesses on North DuPont Highway.
UPDATE, January 5, 2018: Due to the excessive winds forecast for the weekend of January 5-7, DelDOT has postponed the scheduled closure of U.S. Route 13 underneath of Route 141.
DelDOT's C.R. McLeod advised that the winds will not permit safe use of the crane to lift and drop the deck panels into place. Prior to the postponement, McLeod advised that the contractor had been placing 11 panels per day.
Additional updates regarding the rescheduled closure will be forthcoming.