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Saturday, May 5, 2012

Public “Walk-Over” Event Will Allow Up Close Look of New Indian River Inlet Bridge

It’s been a long time coming, but on Sunday afternoon, the new Charles W. Cullen Bridge at Indian River Inlet will be dedicated. Before the bridge is fully opened to traffic, there will be a public walk-over event, which will give you a chance to see the new bridge up close & personal. The public walk-over will take place from 10 to 4pm and the official dedication will be held at the top of the bridge at 1:30pm. Free parking is available in the Delaware Seashore State Park day-use parking lot on the southeast side of the bridge.
NEWS RELEASE:  Public “Walk-Over” Event Will Allow Up Close Look of New Indian River Inlet BridgeDedication Ceremony will be Held by State Officials
Indian River — Continuing a tradition of allowing the public exclusive access to major construction projects before they are open to vehicle traffic the Delaware Department of Transportation (DelDOT) is happy to announce plans for a public “walk-over” of the new Indian River Inlet Bridge (Charles W. Cullen Bridge) on Sunday, May 6, from 10 am to 4 pm.
DelDOT is offering an open invitation to Delaware residents, and all interested visitors from near and far who have a desire in experiencing the magnificent structure up close. This important event is expected to attract thousands of visitors during the course of the day.
Official dedication ceremonies will be held at 1:30 pm atop the bridge. U.S. Senator Tom Carper, Governor Jack Markell, Transportation Secretary Shailen Bhatt, and other officials will address the crowd alongside the four soaring 250-foot high cable-stay towers, with the Atlantic Ocean and the Indian River Bay serving as backdrops.
The $150 million bridge project was constructed by Skanska Civil Southeast under a design-build contract with DelDOT. Sixty Delaware businesses were suppliers to the project. Delaware contractor George & Lynch Construction is completing the roadway approach work allowing for the connection of existing Route 1 to the new bridge. It is expected that the two northbound lanes and the pedestrian walkway will open to traffic prior to Memorial Day, giving the Sussex County landmark its final christening.
Free public parking for this event will be located in the Delaware Seashore State Park day-use parking lot on the south east side of the inlet. Visitors coming from the south will be able to access the parking by entering to the right before crossing the bridge. Visitors coming from the north will have to cross the bridge and then turn at the first crossing to enter the parking area. Various electronic message signs and DelDOT personnel will be on-hand to guide and direct visitors to the correct location.
Join your family, friends, and neighbors, be sure to bring your camera, and don’t miss this once in a lifetime event to celebrate the completion of the Charles W. Cullen Bridge at the Indian River Inlet!
Who Is Charles W. Cullen? (Information courtesy of
While Charles West Cullen is not a well-known member of Delaware history today, he was, at one time, one of the most powerful men throughout the state. Mr. Cullen was born on July 8, 1865, to Charles Mason Cullen, and his wife Catherine in Georgetown, Delaware. Charles M. Cullen was then a lawyer and judge, who later served as a member of the Delaware Supreme Court from 1890 to 1897.
Charles W. Cullen enjoyed a privileged childhood, attending the Georgetown Academy and Dr. Thompson’s Private School in Milton. He followed in his father’s footsteps through college, graduating in 1885 from Delaware College with a law degree. Following graduation, he returned to Georgetown to study law at his father’s practice, where he diligently worked until being admitted to the Delaware bar in April 1888. After his admittance to the bar, Mr. Cullen officially became associated with his father’s practice, which became known as “Charles M. Cullen and Son.” Father and son continued to work together until the father’s appointment to the Delaware Supreme Court in 1890. Even though he was no longer associated with his father, the younger Cullen continued to gain a reputation for his work. By 1933, He was so well respected, he was appointed as a federal referee to oversee the bankruptcy of Pick Barth Holding Corporation and the Radio-Keith-Orpheum (RKO) Southern and Western Corporations.
Mr. Cullen was inherently civic minded, which is evident when you look at some of the activities in which he was involved. He was a member of the Sussex County Bar Association, the Delaware Bar Association, the Free and Accepted Masons, and he served as the Captain of Company “G” in the Delaware State Militia. Mr. Cullen was also a member of Governor Robert J. Reynolds’ personal staff, which prepared him for some of his future work.
In 1930, Mr. Cullen joined the State Highway Commission, which oversaw the State Highway Department, created on April 2, 1917. There he served as the Chairman of the Commission from 1938 to 1939, and remained as a member of the Board until 1940. It was during his time as Chairman that work began on a new bridge to span the Indian River Inlet, to replace a deteriorated wooden span that had been constructed in 1934. The new bridge was dedicated on May 18, 1940. Because of Mr. Cullen’s service to the citizens of Delaware as Chairman of the Department during its construction, the bridge was officially dedicated as the Charles W. Cullen Bridge. Sadly, over the years Mr. Cullen’s name has been forgotten and the bridge became better-known as the Indian River Inlet Bridge.
Following his service on the State Highway Commission, Mr. Cullen continued to be active professionally and personally. He continued to practice law and he, and his wife Mary, who he had married in 1934, would spend time at “Hawk’s Nest,” their summer home along the Indian River. It was at “Hawk’s Nest” on Saturday, July 10, 1948, that Mr. Cullen suffered a heart attack and was rushed to Beebe Medical Center, where he died that same day. At the time of his death, Mr. Cullen was one of the oldest members of the Delaware Bar Association.

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