Press Release -- August 23, 2007
Indian River Inlet Bridge Receives Tilt Sensors and Inspection

The current Indian River Inlet Bridge.

The current Indian River Inlet Bridge.

Sussex County -- The Department of Transportation (DelDOT) is working with the University of Delaware to install tilt sensors on the piers of the Indian River Inlet Bridge. This latest effort will further enhance the Department's current bridge monitoring program. These sensors will offer the Department added confirmation that the bridge piers are stable. Should any change occur, the sensors will provide DelDOT an opportunity to promptly respond. A visual inspection of the entire bridge will follow tomorrow (weather permitting).

In addition to the installation of tilt sensors, and tomorrow's scheduled bridge inspection, additional efforts being made to ensure the existing Indian River Inlet bridge remains stable while a new bridge is built include:

1. Underwater Dive Inspections: DelDOT performs underwater diver inspections on a regular basis (the next one is scheduled for Sept. 2007)

2. Bathymetric Surveys: the Army Corps of Engineers has continued to provide DelDOT with their periodic bathymetric surveys. The technology has improved over the years allowing the viewer to see an underwater picture of the site. (These pictures are posted on www.irib.deldot.gov)

3. Land Survey Equipment: land survey equipment is used to monitor movement on the existing bridge on a regular basis (monthly).

In the most recent process to award a contract to build a new bridge, DelDOT got as far as accepting bids. However, a subsequent internal review revealed that the 2006 Bond Bill provisions authorizing this design/build project were ambiguous. Such ambiguity rendered it impossible to assess the legality of the process. To avoid protracted litigation, DelDOT set aside the bids in order to work with the General Assembly and State Office of Management and Budget to clarify the ambiguities in the statutes. That new language was recently approved and allows DelDOT to move forward with a new process. A new IRIB contract is expected to be awarded within the next year with construction soon to follow.

For the latest information regarding the Indian River Inlet Bridge project visit the project Web site, www.irib.deldot.gov.