Thanks to the sudden closure of the I-495 bridge in Wilmington, Del., thousands of drivers found themselves locked in heavy traffic.
The interstate bridge traffic can be trying on a good day. This situation was an absolute nightmare for blindsided motorists.
The closure was brought on by a bridge tilt issue. Engineers are blaming the tilt on subsurface ground movement.
At least four columns on the bridge are tilted by as much as 4%.
While experts think the bridge is currently stable enough to support itself, it’s believed that opening the structure to heavy traffic could prove disastrous.
The entire bridge is being re-examined in an effort to best determine how to repair the structure.
— FOX 29 (@FOX29philly) June 3, 2014
As the investigation into the problem continues, there is no actual timetable set for the bridge to be reopened to traffic.
This is bad news for the average 90,000 vehicles that travel over the interstate bridge every day.
“We’re basically letting from Florida to Maine know that this issue is going on in Delaware so that trucking interests can be made aware,” said Delaware Transportation Secretary Shailen Bhatt.
In addition to updating motorists about the bridge closure, it’s important for drivers to be aware of any and every alternative route available.
— WTOP (@WTOP) June 4, 2014
Bhatt advises drivers coming south from New York to stay on the New Jersey turnpike. Rather than exit at the I-95, drivers should get off at the Delaware Memorial Bridge, located south of Wilmington. Drivers can get back on the I-95 afterwards.
Drivers traveling north should stay on I-95 through Wilmington and then take the I-295 into New Jersey.
In order to cope with the ensuing traffic issues, it’s advised that motorists plan to leave for their destinations earlier than normal and always take road and traffic conditions into consideration.
This photo illustrates problem along the I-495 bridge in Delaware. The N and S lanes are supposed to be level here. pic.twitter.com/2zIaH93h2h
— Matt O'Donnell (@matt_odonnell) June 4, 2014
The structure’s problem was determined by chance.
An engineering team working on an unrelated project informed Delaware transportation officials about a possible bridge problem, which prompted the investigation.
Image via Wilkimedia Commons