The same week state officials filed a $19 million lawsuit against a consultant on the Indian River Inlet Bridge replacement project over the prior design’s roadway approaches, the Delaware Department of Transportation (DelDOT) announced that Dover-based contractor George & Lynch Inc. had been awarded contract to construct re-engineered roadway approaches and to demolish the existing bridge.
George & Lynch – which, coincidentally, provided construction services to open the original inlet back in the 1930s – was the low bidder for the project, at $11,625,940.
“George & Lynch is pleased to be the low bidder for the final stages of construction of the new Indian River Inlet Bridge,” said Dennis Dinger, president of George & Lynch, on Feb. 4. “It is rewarding for our company to be in a position to provide jobs for our local employees during the coming construction season.”
Noting the company’s part in the history of the inlet, Dinger said, “It seems fitting that we finish up this new bridge project for our state. We look forward to getting started.”
The work to build the roadway approaches for the new Indian River Inlet Bridge and demolish the existing Indian River Inlet Bridge will occur in three phases, officials said.
Phase I to include new traffic pattern
According to DelDOT, Phase I of the project will run from March to May of 2011, with a new traffic pattern in place by Memorial Day weekend. The contractor will perform median work between the Route 1 northbound and southbound lanes as they construct temporary crossovers to establish a new traffic pattern to allow for construction of the roadway approaches.
The new traffic pattern will place Route 1 northbound and southbound traffic (one lane in each direction) on the existing northbound lanes of Route 1. The Route 1 southbound lanes will be used exclusively for pedestrians and cyclists during construction. Directional signage and message boards will be posted accordingly, officials said.
The current speed limit of 35 mph, throughout the work zone, will remain in effect, they noted.
Phase II approaches to include lightweight concrete fill
Phase II of the project is expected to begin by Memorial Day of 2011 and continue into December 2011, officials said.
The construction of the new Route 1 north and south bridge approaches will be done using a lightweight concrete fill that weighs less than traditional soil embankment material, according to DelDOT.
The amount of fill needed for the area was also reduced, they said, because the design of the new bridge incorporated traditional bridge approach spans that take the place of soil embankments.
The new approaches will ultimately provide a connection from the existing roadway to the new Indian River Inlet Bridge which, weather permitting, is expected to be open to traffic by the end of December 2011.
Phase III roadway restoration will also restrict traffic
Officials said Phase III of the contract is expected to begin in early 2012, involving construction of permanent access roads under the bridge, leading to the state park, and restoration of other local roadway connections and turn lanes.
For approximately the first six months of 2012, they said, the traffic pattern will continue to be one lane each direction as the contractor completes that work. Motorists, bicycles and pedestrians will utilize the new bridge and roadway approaches to cross the inlet.
The third phase of the project also includes the demolition of the existing Indian River Inlet Bridge, which officials emphasized will not be imploded or exploded due to the proximity of marine life and the occupied highway.
Instead, concrete portions of bridge will be dismantled using jackhammers and other heavy equipment. They will then be transported to and deposited on a reef site. Structural steel from the bridge will be salvaged and recycled by the contractor.
The 740-calendar-day project is expected to be completed in mid-2013, officials said.
At that time, a separate contract will be initiated to allow for improvements to be made within the Delaware Seashore State Park. Those improvements are designed to beautify and improve the area around the new bridge and approaches. Improvements will include new parking lots, sidewalks, a bathhouse and new and improved campground facilities.
For additional information on the project or the construction of the new Indian River Inlet Bridge Project go to www.irib.deldot.gov.