Press Release -- September 22, 2008
Indian River Inlet Bridge Annual Underwater Dive Inspection

Sussex County -- The Department of Transportation (DelDOT) began its annual underwater dive inspection of the Indian River Inlet Bridge on Monday, September 22, 2008. The inspection is expected to be complete on Friday, September 26, 2008. The inspection will consist of a hands-on inspection of the piers and pilings below the water level. Additionally, water depths around the piers will be measured. The last underwater dive inspection was conducted in September 2007.

The current bridge is the most monitored bridge in the state, and it is safe. Yearly dive inspections are just one of many efforts being made to ensure the existing Indian River Inlet bridge remains stable while a new bridge is built. Additional efforts include:

1. Visual Inspections: DelDOT performs annual visual inspections. The last inspection was completed in August 2008.
2. Pier Sensors: DelDOT worked with the University of Delaware to install pier sensors on the bridge (August 2007).
3. Bathymetric Surveys: DelDOT conducts annual bathymetric surveys. Additional surveys are conducted after severe storm events. In addition the Army Corps of Engineers has continued to provide DelDOT with their periodic bathymetric surveys. These pictures are posted on www.irib.deldot.gov.
4. Land Survey Equipment: land survey equipment is used to monitor movement on the existing bridge on a regular basis (monthly).
5. Sonar Monitoring Device: DelDOT is working with the University of Delaware to install sonar devices on the bridge to further monitor the scour progression.

The 2007 inspection concluded, "The submerged sections of the stems and footings of both piers are in satisfactory condition with no visible deterioration" and "Large size rip-rap measuring up to 10.0 ft. in diameter covers the mudline around the piers. Comparison of the mudline elevation around both piers indicate no notable changes since the October, 2006, investigation."

A fathometer survey of the inlet bottom was performed in May 2008, after the Nor-Easter storm. This survey found that, "The overall channel bottom topography of the current survey is nearly identical to that represented in the previous survey."

For additional information on the history of the bridge and project including renderings of the new bridge go to www.irib.deldot.gov. DelDOT encourages residents, motorists and others to write to DelDOT Public Relations at dotpr@state.de.us , or 800 Bay Road, Dover, DE, 19903, or call 302-760-2080 or 800-652-5600.