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Transportation-Award of Merit: Delaware's Indian River Inlet Bridge

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Even before it was completed in 2011, a critical bridge in Delaware weathered—with flying colors—a rare earthquake, Hurricane Irene and a tropical storm.

The bridge is a key link carrying U.S. 1 across a man-made channel over the meandering Indian River on a barrier island hugging Delaware's coast.

The Delaware Dept. of Transportation awarded a $150-million design-build contract in 2008 to replace the badly scoured twin steel-girder crossing with a new bridge that would have a 100-year service life in a corrosive, storm-prone environment and serve as a federally designated hurricane evacuation route.

The design-build team of Skanska and AECOM built the new 2,600-ft-long, cable-stayed bridge with a clear span of 900 ft and none of its four 248-ft-tall pylons in the water. Each pylon is supported by 42 piles; each pile has a 1,800-ton load-bearing capacity.

With a pipe carried by the new bridge, crews relocated 100,000 cu yd of excess sand resulting from ocean waves from the south jetty to the scour-plagued north jetty.

Most of the 950-ft main span was built over water using two 300-ton customized form travelers. The bridge is designed to resist scour and survive a Category 5 storm with 140-mph winds. It is equipped with 225 sensors that use fiber-optic monitoring technology.

Indian River Inlet Bridge, Rehoboth Beach, Del.

Key Players:

General Contractor: Skanska USA Civil Southeast, Virginia Beach, Va.

Owner: Delaware Dept. of Transportation, Dover, Del.

Lead Design: AECOM Technology Corp., Glen Allen, Va.

Submitted by AECOM Technology Corp.


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