Historic Lewes railroad swing bridge finds new home to be preserved
A Sussex County nonprofit has found a permanent home for the historic Lewes railroad swing bridge.
The Lewes swing bridge was built in 1916 over the Lewes-Rehoboth Canal.
It still works, but its supports are failing and last year, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers ordered the bridge to come down and out of the waterway.
The Lewes Junction Railroad and Bridge Association wants to preserve it - and after a year of searching - the group’s president Randy Voith says it found a location to move it.
“What we wind up picking came about as a recognition of some City-owned property between the old Railroad right-of-way - that’s now the bike trail that leads to Cape Henlopen - and Freeman Highway. There’s a City-owned parcel - better than five acres right - adjacent to the Railroad right-of way and right down from where the bridge is today,” Voith said.
Voith notes the City of Lewes approved moving the bridge to this strip of land at the end of American Legion Road.
“There’s a little triangle there on the bike trail. One part dead ends at the Canal where the bridge is now, another piece goes over to Savannah Road near American Legion Road and the third - which is the main branch I would say goes towards Cape Henlopen," said Voith. "We’ve also been working with DelDOT.”
Delaware’s Department of Transportation owns the bridge and would have scraped it if a new home was not identified.
DelDOT plans to put the project out to bid this spring and says the move is estimated to cost $2 million.
The shoreline where the bridge is now will be replaced with rip-rap after the move.