Originally built by the E.I. du Pont de Nemours and Company, U.S. 13 is an arterial north-south roadway carrying commuters back and forth to Wilmington, New Jersey and southern New Castle County. In the area surrounding the Baylor Boulevard overpass, the eight-lane roadway carries approximately 50,000 vehicles per day. Under an open-end agreement, KCI provided inspection services for the $5.1 million multi-phased replacement of the existing single-span steel girder bridges with a precast concrete box culvert. The work also included reconstruction of the approach roadways and installation of guardrail as needed.
Located just south of the I-295 interchange, the existing parallel structures were a part of the Delaware Greenways multi-use pedestrian trail network. This specific trail, which had been an old freight rail line, starts in old New Castle and is planned to continue onto the Wilmington Riverfront. DelDOT’s objectives included replacing the northbound and southbound bridges carrying U.S. 13 over Baylor Boulevard, while building a tunnel under the highway to accommodate pedestrians and bicyclists.
Removing two aging bridges from the inventory and replacing them with a multi-functional structure accomplished several functions—eliminating bridge maintenance needs; expediting future roadway rehabilitation via repaving rather than reconstruction of approach slabs, bridge decks and parapet walls; and creating a safe pedestrian and bicycle path.
Challenges and successes included streamlined maintenance of vehicular and pedestrian traffic on this major arterial; innovative fabrication of the pedestrian tunnel while the above highly-travelled roadway remained opened; and coordination of numerous utilities, including water, natural gas, a petroleum pipeline, and an array of underground and overhead communication facilities. Once the tunnel was in place, the bridges were removed and reconstructed over two separate but consecutive weekends.