U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx today announced the immediate release of $2 million in emergency relief funds from the Federal Highway Administration to help the Delaware Department of Transportation repair the I-495 Bridge over the Christina River northeast of Wilmington after inspections revealed support columns on the bridge had shifted.
"These funds are a down payment on our commitment to the people of Delaware," said Secretary Foxx. "Because this bridge is vital to thousands of local residents and to millions more throughout the East Coast, getting this bridge repaired quickly is a high priority for all of us."
The bridge, which is currently closed because of the tilting columns, is a key artery for the East Coast, serving an estimated 90,000 vehicles each day. Spanning the Christina River, the bridge is part of a key bypass that helps drivers avoid a congested section of I-95, which cuts through downtown Wilmington.
The $2 million provided today will help the state pay for emergency repair work and aggressively move forward with long-term bridge repairs.
"Emergency relief funding like this makes it possible to fast-track repairs to the bridge," said Deputy Federal Highway Administrator Gregory Nadeau. "The people of Delaware need this critical transportation route restored quickly, and our Emergency Relief program is designed to help do just that."
Built in 1974, the bridge has been inspected regularly -- most recently in 2012 -- and was rated "good condition" by state inspectors.
Due to the disruptions the bridge closure presents to traffic in Delaware and neighboring states, the repair work is a high priority. Workers will soon begin temporary shoring of the existing bridge and repair of the damaged piers.
The FHWA's Emergency Relief Program provides funds for the repair or reconstruction of roads and bridges damaged by natural disasters or catastrophic events, including damaged caused by external forces. Under the program, DelDOT will be reimbursed for additional work until the bridge is fully repaired.