Laurel’s Central Avenue Bridge to remain closed into summer

LAUREL – Delaware’s Department of Transportation announced Friday that Laurel’s Central Avenue Bridge will remain closed until later this summer as a result of the ongoing rehabilitation project.

“We share the community’s frustration that this project has taken much longer than anticipated,” said Secretary of Transportation Jennifer Cohan. “It is often easier and faster to build a new bridge than rehabilitate an old one, as it is a more complex project where more work can be required than initially planned. We have seen that happen here as the work on this historic structure has encountered numerous issues that has slowed progress and prevented the contractor, Eastern Highway Specialists, from meeting the latest expected completion date of June 28, 2019.”

As a result of this completion date not being met, DelDOT will begin to assess a penalty to the contractor in the amount of $1,060 each day beginning June 29 until the bridge is reopened.

The bridge, which was last rehabilitated in 1992, closed on May 15, 2018. It was originally estimated to be completed in January 2019.

The project was delayed by three months due to a restriction on any work happening in the water during sturgeon migration and additional time needed to complete the pier foundation in the river to support the nearly 100 year-old bridge structure.

The remaining work includes final painting of the steel bridge structure, pouring the concrete road deck and completing the pedestrian pathway, and paving the approaches to the bridge.

The bridge is the oldest surviving bascule highway bridge in Delaware and one of the last two surviving Scherzer rolling lift bridges in the state. It is listed on the National Register of Historic Places as a contributing resource to the Laurel Historic District.

DelDOT will continue to update the community as this work is completed and a definitive reopening date is determined.

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