County Delaware

New IR Inlet Bridge
Design Unveiled
Indian River Inlet Bridge ...

Work Expected to
Start in Fall 2004

As much as it is possible for a 1,000-foot bridge span to blend in with a coastal landscape, designers of the proposed new Indian River Inlet Bridge hope the structure does just that.

Indian River Inlet Bridge DesignTo that end, Figg Engineering Group designers have come up with a bridge that includes a sand-hued concrete arch, a railing designed to echo the dune grasses on the surrounding beaches, and a soft blue light to illuminate the new span.

The design was unveiled Wednesday, Aug. 20, 2003, during a public workshop attended by about 500 people under the existing bridge, which state officials have determined needs to be replaced because strong currents in the inlet are scouring deep holes around the pilings that support the bridge.

The new bridge will be supported by the arch and attached steel cables that will run vertically the length of the arch.

The new bridge, estimated to cost $65 million, will include two twelve-foot lanes for both northbound and southbound traffic, as well as a separate 12-foot lane for pedestrians and cyclists.

It will be built slightly west of the current bridge, and will be about 120 feet longer. The current bridge, built in the 1960s, will be dismantled once the new one is completed.

Construction is expected to begin in the fall of 2004, with completion about two years later. The existing bridge will remain open during the construction period.

The final design is the result of Figg's work with a 70-member committee of community officials and residents. Most members of the community stressed that they wanted the bridge to complement the surrounding vistas of the ocean and the Indian River Bay, not compete with it.

The project will dovetail with plans for renovations at the Delaware Seashore State Park's Indian River Marina, which will include improvements to docks and bulkheads as well as to the boat ramp and marine services areas.

During the extensive overhaul, the Burton's Island trail will be closed to visitors. The area will be part of the construction site, and during the project, the trail will be blocked by dredge spoil.

Entrances and exits from the park will also be redesigned as part of the bridge project.

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