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More construction at the Delaware Memorial Bridge, this time in the river

Delaware River and Bay Authority

Construction is underway on a new bridge collision protection system that will enhance protection of the Delaware Memorial Bridge tower structures.

Work on the $93 million project started last week.

The project is partially funded by a $22.25 million U.S. Department of Transportation Better Utilizing Investment to Leverage Development grant.

Work includes installation of eight stone filled dolphin cylinders that each measure 80 feet in diameter with four cells installed at the piers supporting both eastern and western towers.

They will be located a minimum of 443 feet from the edge of the Delaware River’s 800-foot wide channel.

Jim Salmon is the public information officer for the Delaware River and Bay Authority.

"Installation of these cylinders at the tower structure/pier structures in the Delaware River are designed to enhance protection of the peers in the event a ship loses power and/or steering and could accidentally hit the bridge," said Salmon.

Salmon notes if the bridge was being built today, the installation of a similar bridge protection system would be a requirement.

Salmon says this project will update the original collision protection system at the bridge.

"The current Bridge Tower pier protection systems are original to each span. Today's tankers and ships are bigger and faster than those of the '50s and '60s,” said Salmon. “Our goal is to take preemptive measures to prevent a commercial vessel from striking one of these bridge towers."

Work on this project is expected to be completed in September 2025.

Joe brings over 20 years of experience in news and radio to Delaware Public Media and the All Things Considered host position. He joined DPM in November 2019 as a reporter and fill-in ATC host after six years as a reporter and anchor at commercial radio stations in New Castle and Sussex Counties.