Prior to beginning construction of the current Indian River Inlet Bridge, the Delaware Department of Transportation (DelDOT) was required by state and federal law to conduct an archaeological study to determine if the site contained areas of historical or cultural significance. The study found no evidence of historical human habitation. This is most likely due to the harsh living conditions that would have been present at the site prior to the 20th century. However, archaeologists did find window glass, bricks, and stoneware indicative of possible ships or shipwrecks, as well as a variety of shells and stones that are typically found in a coastal environment.
The Indian River Inlet is a unique body of water which connects the Atlantic Ocean with the Indian River Bay. Research indicates that the location of the inlet naturally migrated up and down the coast until the early 20th century when it was secured in place by the Army Corps of Engineers. The natural movement of beach sand and stones due to erosion and tides presents a dynamic, constantly changing environment.
The growing popularity of Delaware's beach-resort towns in the first half of the 20th century coincided with a significant increase in personal automobile ownership. As more people sought the tranquil coastline and beaches, Delaware responded with the construction of the Ocean Highway (now Coastal Highway/State Route 1) between Rehoboth Beach and Bethany Beach. This roadway was completed in 1933. In order to complete the link, a bridge was built across the Indian River Inlet.