A pair of bridge replacement projects underway in downtown Milford will require residents and visitors to take detours through fall.
Washington Street Bridge
Completion Targeted: Nov. 15
Marshall Street Bridge
Completion Targeted: Oct. 30
Although two bridge replacement projects currently underway in downtown Milford will force residents and visitors to take detours this fall, state transportation officials say the work was sorely needed to replace the deteriorating structures.
The long-planned Washington Street Bridge replacement officially got underway Sept. 10, following a postponement to allow for the Riverwalk Festival the weekend before.
"Initially, we planned to go in before the Riverwalk but there was a chance we might not be finished in time, so the decision was made to hold off until after the festival," explained DelDOT engineer Jason McCluskey.
Although DelDOT designed the project, the nearly 80-year-old bridge over the Mispillion River is owned by the city, which requested the bridge replacement more than a year ago after advanced corrosion was discovered in the steel beams that held up the single-span concrete deck.
The city is funding 20 percent of the total cost, with the remainder funded by the federal government.
While heavy traffic on the bridge has been limited for some time, the city soon would have been forced to close the structure to all traffic without the replacement project, McCluskey said.
DelDOT also would have been forced to close Marshall Street, just north of its intersection with McCoy Street, if the bridge over Herring Branch wasn't replaced soon, he said.
That bridge, which many motorists might have never even noticed, consisted of two corrugated metal pipes that carry Herring Branch underneath the roadway.
"The structure had reached the end of its 25-year life and those pipes tend to deteriorate rapidly once they get rusty," McCluskey said. "I would say it had less than two years of life left."
Work on that project began Sept. 4.
Since work began on the Washington Street Bridge, workers from Wilmington-based Eastern Highway Specialists have demolished the existing concrete bridge deck. As of last week, the contractor was lining the river bed with stone to prevent erosion, while waiting for Verizon to remove utility lines that run along the steel support beams.
Once that stage is complete, patches will be made on the existing concrete abutments, the steel beams will be replaced and new utility lines added. Finally, a new concrete deck will be poured on top of the support structure, McCluskey said.
The final stage of the project will include the addition of new barrier walls and new lamps over the completed bridge by mid-November.
Over on Marshall Street, workers with Clayton-based Zack Excavation have diverted the Herring Branch stream, dug out the structure and removed the pipes.
As of Friday, the contractor was using a large crane to install sheet piles to shore up the excavation hole. Next, they will install a new concrete frame to carry the stream, as well as retaining walls, otherwise known as wingwalls.
That will be followed the reconstruction of the roadway and the addition of stones in the streambed to prevent erosion.
Herring Branch and Marshall Street should both be flowing again by late October, McCluskey said.
Information about the Washington Street Bridge project, including detour routes, can be found at www.deldot.gov/information/projects/washstbridge/ or by calling (302) 760-2080.
Information about the Marshall Street Bridge project, including detour routes, also can be found on DelDot's website or by calling (302) 760-2080.