Transportation officials in Delaware say a portion of the closed Interstate 495 bridge may re-open ahead of schedule, weeks before Labor Day.
On Wednesday officials announced the construction of the 32 new underground support columns needed to repair the bridge was completed. Work to erect the jacking towers that will be used to lift the bridge deck back into alignment is ongoing.
The bridge, which typically carries about 90,000 vehicles daily, was closed June 2 after officials learned several columns were tilting.
Crews are closing up the series of six-foot by six-foot holes that were made in the bridge deck. The holes allow cranes to lower steel reinforcing cages, each 150-feet tall, into the cases that line each column prior to filling them with concrete.
Officials say plans for the jacking process are being finalized. Engineers hope to begin the process on the southbound side of the bridge within the next two weeks.
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If the jacking operation goes well, DelDOT will open the southbound lanes of I-495 and the northbound lanes two weeks to a month later.
DelDOT originally estimated the southbound lanes would open on Labor Day, September 1. They now believe however that the project could be open a few weeks before that, though they have not yet revealed a specific date.