1916 Train Bridge to be Removed from Lewes Canal - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

1916 Train Bridge to be Removed from Lewes Canal

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LEWES, Del.- The Delaware Department of Transportation  is making plans to remove the 1916 train bridge that crosses the Lewes Canal. The agency will preserve it if someone can find it a new home.

DelDOT says the supports of the swing bridge are failing and that it would cost more money than its worth to fix. The bridge has been out of service for about two years.

"One of the issues that we've seen with the train bridge here is some erosion," says DelDOT Community Relations Director CR McLeod. "That's happening because of the current that's being funneled through the narrow channel where the bridge currently is. We'll hopefully be able to eliminate that erosion and widen the channel for boats coming through."

McLeod says a storm knocked the swing bridge out of alignment in 2016 and now there are plans to remove it in the fall of 2020. He says only one business was using it to transport goods in and out of town in the end. 

"Once the business owner was agreeable to that in making alternative plans for getting products in and out of their facility, the department determined that it would be best to close the structure and ultimately remove it," says McLeod.

DelDOT says it recognizes that the bridge has historical value and that right now the goal is to see if the city or a private group is interested in preserving it. The method and cost of removing the bridge is dependent on whether or not it will be preserved. 
 
The Lewes Junction Railroad and Bridge Association realizes that the bridge has to come out of the canal and is hoping to help it find a permanent home. Dr. Gary Wray says it's the reason Fort Miles was built in Lewes. 
 

"The bridge was the connection to the beach," Wray says. 

Wray says the bridge helped transport big loads for the Delaware River and Bay Authority, Cape Henlopen State Park, and SPI Pharma. The bridge was last used when a gun barrel from the USS Missouri traveled to Fort Miles in 2012. 
 

"Once the bridge comes out of there, there will be no more big items going to the beach like this 120-ton gun barrel," says Wray. 

DelDOT will pay to move the bridge and the Lewes Junction Railroad and Bridge Association will work to preserve it. The city's input is of course required. 

Mayor Ted Becker has a few ideas of where it could go. 

"They're now looking at the possibility of locating it in Great Marsh Park off of New Road," says Becker. "They're asking for our concurrence as to whether or not they investigate whether or not that's a viable option." 
 
There is no definite location yet. Mayor Becker says one option is to photograph the swing bridge before scrapping it. 
 
McLeod says DelDOT would ideally like to know whether or not the swing bridge will be preserved by the end of the year so that it can finalize plans to remove it. 

 

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