Upgrades Planned for Lewes-Rehoboth Canal Bridge - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Upgrades Planned for Lewes-Rehoboth Canal Bridge

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REHOBOTH BEACH, Del.- While several significant upgrades are in the works for the Lewes-Rehoboth Canal Bridge, the Delaware Department of Transportation says it has no plans to replace the existing bridge anytime soon.

The drawbridge, constructed in 1986, replaced the previous bridge, which was also a moveable bridge.

According to DelDOT spokesman Jim Westhoff, the existing bridge is considered to be in good (or satisfactory) condition, although it has significant mechanical and electral upgrade needs that need to be addressed.

"We have in the design phase a project to repair or upgrade the existing mechanical and electrical systems, as well as perform minor structural repairs and preventative maintenance activities," Westhoff said.

However, Westhoff said none of those aforementioned upgrades and repairs are expected to occur for at least another two years.

A separate pedestrian has "never seriously been considered," Westhoff said, because the existing bridge is able to accomodate pedestrians on both sides.

"Having a separate pedestrian structure will add significant costs for construction, as well as long-term maintenance costs," Westhoff said.

He did note, however, that one of the future upgrades would include widening the existing sidewalk on the north side of the bridge to accomodate both bikes and pedestrians.

When asked if the existing bridge will need to be replaced anytime in the near future, Westhoff said it would not.

"The bridge is in good condition and has only been in service for 30 years," he said, adding that bridges should have at least a 75-year service life.

Boaters who request the bridge be raised in order to pass through are requested to provide 24-hour advance notice. However, Westhoff said most boats using the canal can fit under the bridge without requiring it to be opened.

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