Southbound Lanes Reopen On I-495 Bridge In Delaware

Southbound Lanes Reopen On I-495 Bridge In Delaware

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DELAWARE-Business owners in Delaware are breathing a sigh of relief now that the southbound lanes of I-495 have reopened. However, the work is not over on the bridge that closed two months ago.

90,000 vehicles travel I-495 every day. When the southbound lanes were closed, a lot of money from the city bypassed the local businesses that rely on those dollars.

“Summer time is usually the best time for any trucking business," Delaware Truck Plaza owner Ritesh Gupta said.

But that hasn’t been the case for Gupta, who says truckers coming from Philly bypassed his New Castle station because 95 was their best alternative.

“We have seen that the business has suffered at least a 15 to 20 swing since the last two months," he said.

He's pleased 495 reopened one month ahead of schedule.

“We’ve already seen a spike in our daily sale volumes," Gupta said.

DelDOT did a stress test and drove over the bridge at 55 miles per hour with a worst case scenario of weight before they opened the southbound lanes on Thursday.

“I have a nine month old. She turned nine months old today I would have no qualms about putting her in a car and taking her across that bridge right now on the southbound side," DelDOT Secretary Shailen Bhatt said.

US Senator Tom Carper toured the 495 bridge in Wilmington a day after the southbound lanes reopened.

He's not smiling yet.

“This bridge is really a metaphor. We have 10s of thousands of bridges across the country and a bunch of them are in trouble and they’re not about to tilt over and fall down, they’re different situations, but they’re in trouble," Carper said.

Carper wants more long term solutions to repair and maintain aging infrastructure in our country, so more major roadways don't pose safety problems to the public.

DelDOT estimates the cost of repairing the tilting bridge at 35 million dollars, the Federal Highway Administration footed the majority of the bill.

The shutdown may not have cost the Delaware Truck Plaza millions, but Gupta certainly felt it.

“I’d say it was definitely sluggish, but we were able to get through it and there’s no doubt in my mind that it will only get better," Gupta said.

The northbound lanes of 495 remain closed. They're expected to be open again in the next two to four weeks.

Litigation is pending against the contractors who DelDot says dumped the dirt which caused the bridge to lean.


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