Tilting I-495 Bridge Repaired, Reopened to Traffic - NBC 10 Philadelphia

Tilting I-495 Bridge Repaired, Reopened to Traffic



    After a nearly three month long closure, DelDOT reopened the northbound lanes of the I-495 bridge. (Published Saturday, Aug. 23, 2014)

    The Delaware Department of Transportation reopened the remaining portion of the Interstate-495 bridge Saturday, fully restoring traffic to the heavily trafficked roadway.

    The bridge, which typically carries about 90,000 vehicles daily, was closed June 2 after officials learned of the unsafe conditions. An engineering firm had informed DelDOT three days earlier that the 4,800-foot span was tilting, according to officials.

    Traffic began moving on the northbound lanes Saturday, less than a month after officials reopened the southbound lanes.

    Officials said large mounds of dirt dumped next to the four columns supporting the 40-year-old span caused the ground to shift and the the columns to tilt.  State environmental regulators cited the landowners for violating state laws and administrative codes early this month, but did not assign blame to them for the damage.

    The damage and subsequent closure of the highway led Google to remove the bridge from its online maps in early June.

    The internet giant updated its system to include the reopened highway -- often used to bypass Interstate 95 -- the same day DelDOT made its announcement.

    "Permanent repairs to the bridge are still underway," according to Delaware's Secretary of Transportation Shailen Bhatt.

    Realigning the tilting bridge cost an estimated $45 million.