In 2011, the Delaware Department of Transportation (DelDOT) spent more than $5 million to rebuild a bridge overpass near Newport to accommodate taller freight trains.
However, soon after the project was completed, the agency discovered that it hadn’t been built quite high enough.
The most likely cause, according to Barry Benton, DelDOT’s state bridge engineer, was a DelDOT surveying team that had mistakenly measured the clearance for the span from the ground rather than from the top of the tracks’ steel rails.
As a result, the price tag of the 4-year-old Newport Road bridge will jump by nearly half a million dollars this summer as construction crews jack up the span 6 inches to fix the previous mistake.
The error was discovered in 2012, shortly after the bridge construction was completed. Following the discovery, DelDOT requested a waiver from CSX to keep the bridge at the height of its construction. CSX officials declined the request.
The 2011 bridge project came at a total cost to taxpayers of $5.017 million, more than double the amount of the construction contractor’s winning bid.
Construction crews this summer will once again descend upon the span with heavy equipment, forcing the closure of Newport Road for more than a month.