Inlet bridge to close briefly overnight, May 7

Date Published: 
May 2, 2014

Drivers could expect to face a slight delay when heading over the Charles W. Cullen Bridge at the Indian River Inlet on the night of Wednesday, May 7. Weather pending, the Delaware Department of Transportation (DelDOT) planned to have intermittent bridge closures for 15-minute intervals from 10 p.m. to 3 a.m. (overnight from May 7 to May 8) for diagnostic load testing.

The entire bridge was to be closed to traffic at those times. But emergency response vehicles will always have access, officials said early this week.

According to DelDOT, diagnostic load testing involves driving pre-weighed trucks across the bridge. Staff from the University of Delaware helps record measurements as the test vehicle passes.

The resulting data points to many properties that affect the bridge’s actual load-carrying capacity. It also creates an accurate structural model of the bridge that can be used in the final bridge rating, measured on the Bridge Rating and Analysis of Structural Systems (BRASS) program.

The May 7 testing was to be the first bi-annual load test since DelDOT took the initial measurements when the new bridge was completed and opened to traffic in January of 2012.

Night work is being done to avoid the heavy daytime traffic volume, officials noted.

“Nothing is wrong with the bridge,” emphasized Sandy Roumillat, DelDOT chief of community relations. “This is a scheduled test to help us monitor and better understand the performance of the bridge.”

This month, Transystems inspectors are also performing bi-annual bridge safety inspections. That work is also expected to cause some sidewalk or lane closures — but not full bridge closures — as inspectors rappel down bridge cables. Motorists should be aware of workers and additional traffic shifts from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday, through May 9.

For more information, contact DelDOT Public Relations at (302) 760-2080.