Repair work on the Iron Branch bridge on Route 113 will be accelerated so it’s finished in two weeks instead of the eight months a more involved project would have taken, DelDOT engineers told the Millsboro Town Council on Monday, July 1.
The portions of the bridge — in the area of Auto Zone and Hardee’s — that were built in 1915 and 1946 will be replaced.
Formally listed as Bridge 3-507, the structure is part of Delaware’s state-owned inventory and maintained by the Delaware Department of Transportation.
The bridge’s core is an original two-lane structure built in 1916 to carry the new T. Coleman du Pont Highway over Iron Branch in Millsboro.
It was modified twice during the next few years, to accommodate wider shoulders, then to dualize Route 113, according to information provided by DelDOT.
The older, southbound, portion of the bridge consists of concrete-encased steel beams and concrete abutments. It will be replaced with a new, three-sided precast concrete frame.
Although the bridge is still safe, officials said, it requires updating.
“The 1915 and 1946 portion will be ripped out. Pipes are located in the middle of the bridge. We would have had to divert the entire drainage with the larger, eight-month project. Now, we will put a temporary pipe through the work area, put new footings in and replace the frame,” the DelDOT engineer told the council.
There will also be paving and improvements to Radish Road, with the contractor working every day of the week to finish on time and minimize traffic delays, they said.
If full replacement had been done, the engineer said, there would have been “a huge impact on the public and nearby businesses,” including 12 residential driveways and several nearby businesses.
With the accelerated method, there will a two-week closure of the southbound lanes, with no impact to northbound lanes.
Local traffic will have a two-mile detour, from Radish Road to Handy Road, then connecting back to Route 113.
From Auto Zone, traffic will be able to make a right turn out of the business, then a left turn into it. Northbound traffic will make a left in, then a right out.
Trucks will be detoured about 11 miles, from Routes 30 to 26.
For more information, visit www.deldot.gov/information/projects/bridges/us113_BR3-507/.
Millsboro Town Manager Sheldon Hudson emphasized that the bridge repair is not a Town project.
He said the accelerated option is preferred and that town leaders “certainly hope DelDOT makes every effort to encourage its contractor to honor the timeline relative to construction work.”
“Obviously, we have concerns about the traffic impacts, although we recognize the need for the project to be done,” Hudson said.
By Susan Canfora