Cape Gazette

Sand covers Route 1; IR bridge declared sound

Highway closed until Thursday from Dewey to Bethany
Oct 30, 2012
Photo by: Ron MacArthur Aerial view looking north shows sand covering the approach to the Indian River inlet bridge.

The abandoned roadway leading up to the old Indian River Inlet bridge is scattered in bits and pieces across the beach, showcasing the destructive power of Mother Nature.

After a visual inspection of the new bridge, a Department of Transportation engineer said the span is structurally sound, but a breach of the barrier dune on the north side of the inlet buried the approaches under several feet of sand.

"It's through the vision of former governors and our current governor that got the new bridge in place," said DelDOT Secretary Shailen Bhatt. "We opened it earlier this year, and it just goes to show how important infrastructure is to both our state and the tourism community, but also times like these, where if we had not had the new bridge in place, we would be talking about a lot different of a story right now."

Route 1 from Dewey Beach to Bethany Beach will be closed until at least Thursday, Gov. Jack Markell said. The pedestrian walkway under the bridge is closed indefinitely, and the remnants of the abandoned road will be removed.

More than a dozen front-end loaders were clearing the highway of sand and debris Tuesday, Oct. 30, and work will continue until motorists are safely able to navigate the road. There may be lane restrictions when the roadway is reopened, Markell said.

Rep. Pete Schwartzkopf used the destruction at the inlet as an example of why residents should listen to evacuation orders.

"This is why we were trying to tell everyone to get out of town, to go to a shelter, to go somewhere safe," he said. "It was almost a ghost town around here, and that's the way it should've been. [The inlet] is just proof that if you stay and tempt Mother Nature, you're going to lose."

Markell toured the state via helicopter and noted several problem areas at Prime Hook Beach, Bethany Beach and Fenwick Island. He said he was pleased to see how well some of the coastal communities fared.

At the peak of the storm, Markell said, the state's seven shelters housed about 1,200 people. By Tuesday afternoon, about 10 percent of that number remained, he said.

"We certainly fared better than what forecasts had predicted, and we certainly fared better than some surrounding states," Markell said. "I know all of our hearts go out to those who have died, their loved ones and those who have really been traumatized by this in other states."

Old IR Bridge road destroyed
(Video by: Nick Roth)
Sand covers a large section of Route 1 north of the Indian River Inlet bridge. (Photo by: Ron MacArthur)
Work crews can be seen working to clear sand off Route 1. (Photo by: Ron MacArthur)
The abandoned road leading up to the old Indian River Inlet bridge was destroyed by the ocean during Hurricane Sandy. (Photo by: Nick Roth)
Front-end loaders move sand off Route 1 near the Indian River Inlet bridge. (Photo by: Nick Roth)
A backhoe clears the beach of remnants of the abandoned roadway during low tide. (Photo by: Nick Roth)
Erosion of the dune is evident where the roadway used to lead up to the old Indian River Inlet bridge. (Photo by: Nick Roth)
Shown addressing the media at the Indian River Inlet are (l-r) Department of Transportation Secretary Shailen Bhatt, Sen. Tom Carper, Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control Secretary Colin O'Mara, Gov. Jack Markell and Rep. John Atkins. (Photo by: Nick Roth)
Crews are clearing the Indian River Inlet area of debris and sand. (Photo by: Nick Roth)
What is left of the approach road to the old Indian River Inlet bridge. (Photo by: Nick Roth)
There is no evidence of a roadway just north of the Indian River Inlet bridge. (Photo by: Nick Roth)
Hurricane Sandy left the bridge approach to the old bridge in pieces. (Photo by: Nick Roth)
A look at the southbound lanes of Route 1 approaching the Indian River Inlet bridge. (Photo by: Nick Roth)
Tractors clear out sand Wednesday from the southbound lanes leading to the bridge. (Photo by: Ron MacArthur)
Dozens of pieces of earth-moving equipment work Wednesday to move sand off Route 1. (Photo by: Ron MacArthur)
Workers plan to have all this sand on the northbound lane moved away by the end of the day Wednesday. (Photo by: Ron MacArthur)
The slow process of moving tons of sand off the approach road to the Indian River Inlet bridge is progressing on Wednesday. (Photo by: Ron MacArthur)
Equipment from the National Guard is helping to move sand to construct a dune along Route 1. (Photo by: Ron MacArthur)
Not much remains of what was a dune line with abundant brush and trees along Route 1 near the Indian River Inlet bridge. (Photo by: Ron MacArthur)
Comments (1)
Posted by: Barry Wayne Price | Oct 31, 2012 07:43

was there ever any doubt that this bit of roadway was at risk?

If you wish to comment, please login.

The price of liberty is eternal vigilance.