By Robin Culverwell
WILMINGTON, Del. (CBS) — Repairs to the Interstate 495 bridge in New Castle County are moving along, though there’s no indication the span across the Christina River will open any sooner than expected.
Crews have begun the drilling process to install 32 steel-reinforced concrete supports surrounding eight of the bridge’s existing pillars, or piers — four northbound and four southbound.
Delaware Department of Transportation engineers found those piers were out of alignment by a few degrees earlier this month, prompting closure of the highway and emergency repairs. The problem was blamed on a massive dirt pile deposited by a contractor.
DelDOT spokesman Geoff Sundstrom says the drilling process itself is going well. So far, crews have not been slowed by soil conditions or any existing infrastructure.
Using specific drills to minimize vibration, they’re going down 120-to-150 feet through soft soil, clay, sand and finally, into bedrock. And eight of the 32 supports should be in place by week’s end.
Still, it’ll likely be Labor Day at the earliest that the southbound lanes open, and the northbound lanes should open a week or two later.