The fall months find Skanska finishing up the design portion of the Indian River Bridge construction contract and moving into the execution of construction activities, which officials say remain on schedule for a projected in-use date in the spring or summer of 2011.
According to project officials, as of Sept. 15, activities to occur within the coming month include:
• Driving the remaining 72 36-inch concrete piles (33 on the south side and 39 on the north side), which should occur within next 30 days.
• Planning for additional concrete pours this month.
• Tracking construction activities on both sides of the inlet. Currently, the south side is a little ahead of the north side, but the overall project is still on schedule, officials said.
• Green reinforcing steel can be seen as motorists drive over the existing bridge, and they will soon be able to see the orange tower forms. The public will also begin to see the grade of the bridge taking shape.
• The temporary falsework continues to be installed. This temporary falsework will support sections of the main span during construction and will then be removed once the main span is supported by the cable stays.
• The edge girder system will be arriving in the next two weeks. This system will be assembled on the ground and then placed on the structure.
As for the existing bridge, in August, project officials offered a Construction Advisory Group (CAG) members statement from Lead Bridge Inspector Doug Finney on the condition of the bridge, which had been estimated to reach the end of its lifespan between 2008 and 2015, by various studies over the years.
“Overall, the existing Indian River Inlet Bridge is in fair condition. The bridge deck and supports are very similar in nature to last year’s report, with no major changes,” he wrote. “None of the findings from this year’s report can be considered structural problems. However, it is important to note that DelDOT will monitor the bridge regularly until the new bridge is opened to traffic, and should a future inspection show any structural problems, we will immediately correct them.”
At the CAG meeting, state Rep. Gerald Hocker commented that he had heard no complaints about the bridge, which was in contrast to the many complaints he had received during past years. He stated that he was very pleased with the work being performed by the Skanska team.
CAG members, and others, have toured the bridge construction site in recent months. Several tours will be occurring during September and October.
The next CAG meeting will be held on Monday, Sept. 28, at 10 a.m. More information on the project, including photo galleries and time-lapse video of the construction, is available online at http://deldot.gov/information/projects/indian_river_bridge/.