When the Military and Wars are a Country’s Priority
WILMINGTON, Del. — Underneath a now-silent interstate bridge over which 90,000 tractor-trailers and cars normally rumble every day, engineers and workers in hard hats are using shovels and high-tech sensors to figure out how and why the ground has shifted.
The Interstate 495 bridge in Wilmington, Delaware, was closed Monday after four pairs of support pillars were found to be tilting. Officials do not know when it will reopen.
Engineers are hoping to unearth clues that will help them determine how to shore up the bridge over the Christina River, a process officials say is going to take considerable time.
Four pairs of 50-foot-tall columns that are 5 feet in diameter are leaning, with the top of one roughly 2 feet out of line with the bottom. They are tilting by as much as 2.4 degrees, or 4 percent, from vertical.
An AP analysis of more than 600,000 bridges last year showed that more than 65,000 were classified as “structurally deficient” and more than 20,000 as “fracture critical.” Of those, nearly 8,000 were both — a combination of red flags that experts say indicates significant disrepair and risk of collapse.