By Kim Glovas
WILMINGTON, Del. (CBS) — It’s been a traffic pain for months, but the pain is now officially over. Delaware Transportation officials have reopened the northbound lanes of Interstate 495 over the Christina River in Wilmington, Delaware, a bridge that handles 90,000 vehicles a day.
“The northbound lanes of I-495 opened officially to traffic at 3:15 p.m. this afternoon,” says Geoff Sundstrom, spokesman for the Delaware Department of Transportation, “that followed the successful completion of a load test on the bridge, which was conducted at approximately 2:30 p.m.”
On June 2nd, the bridge was closed after an inspection revealed columns supporting the span tilting. Southbound lanes were reopened July 31st.
Sundstrom says some final welding on the underside of the bridge and other work was completed to provide extra rigidity. Now, three lanes in each direction are open, much to the relief of many commuters.
“Folks headed north from Delaware beaches are going to have an easier commute,” he says. “And, of course, during the weekdays, before the Labor Day Holiday, traffic will be moving freely in both directions.”
Sundstrom says the project was completed one month ahead of time. The price tag was $45-million dollars, which will be paid for with grants through the Federal Highway Administration.
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