Hairline cracks have appeared in two sections of concrete in the new Indian River Inlet Bridge currently under construction in Delaware, the Wilmington, Del., News Journal reported. The cracks were found in 82- x 106-ft slabs on each side of the inlet connecting the Atlantic Ocean with Indian River Bay and will need to be repaired.
The Delaware DOT said the exact cause of the cracks is still under investigation.
“The cause for the cracking exhibited in these deck sections is still actively being evaluated and discussed by the design-builder and DelDOT in order to prevent any recurrence,” said Carolann Wicks, secretary of DelDOT, in a statement.
DelDOT is considering sealing the cracks, which extend 10.5 in. into the concrete, with an epoxy, but the epoxy would have to be thin enough to penetrate the hairline cracks.
The cracks are only the latest bumps in the road to building a replacement for the current Indian River Inlet Bridge, which has suffered extensive scour around its piers as a result of the swift and turbulent currents through the channel. The new bridge will not have piers in the water.
The new bridge was originally scheduled to open to traffic in April 2011, but the opening has been delayed until sometime between August and October 2011. Skanska USA and AECOM, the design-builders of the bridge, could face financial penalties if they miss the opening date. The project is still on-budget, according to DelDOT Secretary Wicks.