Delaware DOT Builds Bridge Too Short

May 25, 2016

A $5 million bridge overpass in Wilmington, Del., that crosses over rail tracks somehow came up short.

As reported in DelawareOnline, the overpass is six inches too low and cannot accommodate taller freight trains.

Barry Benton, DelDOT's bridge engineer, says the shortage may be due to mistaken calculations when surveyors were measuring for the project. “It appears that the original survey shots may not have been top of the rail; they may have been bottom of the rail,” Benton said. “When we fill out a survey request, we request top of rail, and that’s what we thought we got.”

CSX Corp. owns the rail tracks and says it needs at least 21 feet 6 inches for double-stacked container cars to clear the overpass. DelDOT asked CSX if they could live with the error and requested a waiver from the railroad company, but CSX declined.

The fix will now cost another half million dollars as construction crews jack up the bridge span six inches to fix the mistake.

Benton stressed that he is speculating on the cause of the mistake as DelDOT has not yet made a determination.

Read more of Delaware Online's "Newport-area bridge too low; DelDOT must correct error" here.