The replacement of the Washington Street Bridge in downtown Milford has been postponed until early September to accommodate this year’s Riverwalk Freedom Festival which is set for for September 6-8. Located between Park Place Restaurant and the offices of Downtwn Milford Inc. and the Greater Milford Chamber of Commerce, the bridge will cause some major changes in downtown traffic patterns. The Delaware Dept. of Transportation (DelDOT) is in the planning stages of rehabilitating the Washington Street Bridge in downtown Milford with an expected start date of September 10.
The Washington Street Bridge was constructed in May of 1933. Due to congestion, the City of Milford petitioned the United States War Department for permission to construct a second bridge across the Mispillion River. The bridge was constructed by Captain Herman D. Johnson, taking 90 days to complete the project. The bridge was opened in January 1934 for a total cost of $9,773.
The structure of the bridge is a multi-girder steel bridge, which consists of a series of parallel steel beams designed to support a road deck and resist the weight of traveling vehicles. In 2009, a routine inspection by DelDOT, determined the bridge to be structurally deficient. Over the course of time, the existing beams have experienced corrosion as well as some section loss
“As you can see some of the concrete on the outer walls of the bridge is starting to deteriorate ,” commented Director of Public Works Brad Dennehy. “The existing beams are experiencing advanced corrosion and some section loss. The bridge remains open to traffic but it needs to be replaced before it is unsafe.”
Originally scheduled to begin on June 1, the construction is now said to begin on September 10 and will take about 75 days to complete. Funding for the complete reconstruction will be provided by the Federal Government and by City sources. DelDot is preparing to replace the concrete deck and the steel beam with new ones. In addition, there will be a reconstruction of the roadway and a riprap will be set in place in order to prevent scour or streambed erosion.
Detours will be set in place during the construction. Motorists approaching from the south will have to make a left turn onto S.E. Front St. followed by a right turn onto Walnut St. and then a left turn onto N.E. Front St. During the project, local access will be maintained if needed, on both sides of the bridge for residents use.
“Access to the surrounding businesses will be available during the construction of the bridge,” stated Dennehy. “As part of the construction we will also be paving the parking lot on the corner of Park Avenue and Washington Street which will give us additional parking downtown.”
Due to the number of residents and the length of the detour, a pedestrian detour has been proposed during the construction. Pedestrians will have to use the sidewalks on S.E. Front St, and then make a left onto Walnut St, followed by a right turn onto Park Ave. For more information on the rehabilitation of the Washington Street Bridge visit www.deldot.gov