State And County Officials Break Ground For New Indian River Inlet Bridge
Governor Ruth Ann Minner, Lt. Governor John C. Carney Jr., United States Rep. Mike Castle, Secretary of State Harriet Smith Windsor, DelDOT Secretary Nathan Hayward III, DNREC Secretary John A. Hughes, State Senator George Bunting and Sussex County Administrator Bob Stickels joined Saturday evening with nearly 800 community members for a celebration marking the start of the new Indian River Inlet Bridge Construction Project.
"This is a landmark day for the people of Sussex County as well as the entire state of Delaware," said Governor Minner. "Due to severe tidal conditions experienced in the area, the present bridge will soon be no longer able to facilitate the 13,000 to 18,000 vehicles that transit it daily. However, I insisted that any plans for a replacement bridge must address more than its transportation needs. It is essential that the bridge fit in an as integral part of the wonderful Delaware Seashore State Park and the revitalization plans for the park. This bridge should truly be reflective of the community's vision and stand as a fine example of how our state agencies work together for the benefit of all our citizens."
Secretary Hayward explained: "The current Indian River Inlet Bridge along Route 1 provides a critical link on the Eastern seaboard between Bethany Beach and Dewey Beach. However the situation with this and the previous bridges is that they were supported by pilings that rested in the inlet. This new structure will have a main span of approximately 1,000 feet. This longer main span will allow the bridge to cross the inlet without any piers in the water, eliminating the problem of water erosion. The length of the span will also provide for the future potential widening of the inlet."
Secretary Hayward concluded. "The new bridge will be the longest single concrete arch cable-supported bridge in the world. So now, not only is Delaware again the first in the Country, but now first in the world."
The bridge model was tested to withstand a wind speed of 300 miles per hour, twice the wind speed of a Category-5 hurricane. The fastest surface wind ever recorded in the world, which was 231 miles per hour, was measured on Mt. Washington, New Hampshire.