INDIAN RIVER INLET, Del. - Construction crews are taking the first steps to prepare the old Indian River Inlet Bridge for demolition.
The Delaware Department of Transportation said the embankment on the south side of the inlet will be removed and transferred to the north side for erosion control. The material will be used to support the existing dune structures, said DelDOT spokesman Mike Williams.
Removal of the embankment must be completed before the bridge can be dismantled, Williams said.
Demolition on the old bridge is expected to begin around June and should not impact summer traffic, DelDOT said. Most of the structure will be broken down and hauled away, Williams said. Some steel and concrete from the bridge will be transported to a reef site, according to the project website.
Demolition is expected to take between two and three months, Williams said.
Meanwhile, the second span of the new $150 million bridge is expected to open by the middle of May. DelDOT opened the southbound span to traffic in February. Williams said work is finishing on the approaches to the second span, which should open before Memorial Day weekend.
"It has to be open. There's no question," said Steve Jackson, owner of The Fudge Factory in Bethany Beach.
Jackson believes one span is not enough to handle thousands of additional beach visitors.
"Getting down Route 1 is a real chore," Jackson said.
Improvements to nearby Delaware Seashore State Park are still in the design phase, Williams said. Construction is expected to start in the middle of 2013 and take up to two years to complete.