New Castle – The Delaware River and Bay Authority (DRBA) Commissioner Doug VanSant (left) of Bridgeton, NJ and DRBA Commissioner Michael Ratchford of New Castle, DE activate the new bridge dehumidification system on the Delaware bound span. The dehumidification plant, which is housed inside the anchorages of the bridge, started operating at approximately 1:25 PM Tuesday November 21, 2017.
The $35 million, state-of-the-art system will extend the life span of our main suspension cables that support the bridge deck of the Delaware Memorial Bridges. The construction work involved fitting air tight wraps around the main cables, positioning injection and exhaust ports, and installing advanced dehumidification plants inside the bridges’ anchorages. The system is equipped with remote sensors and advanced monitoring systems to insure it is functioning as intended.
Approximately 25 suspension bridges in the world are equipped with a cable preservation system. In 1998, the Akashi Kaikyo Bridge in Japan was the first to be equipped with such a system. The Maryland Transportation Authority began installing the first cable dehumidification system in the United States for the William Preston Lane Jr. Memorial (Bay) Bridge in 2012. That system was completed nearly three years ago. The Delaware Memorial Bridge Twin Span is the second such application in the United States.
The Delaware Memorial Bridge is a major transportation link in the north-south corridor between Washington, D.C. and New York City that handles more than 35 million vehicles annually. The Delaware Memorial Bridges main suspension cables are original to each bridge. The New Jersey bound span opened in 1951 while the Delaware bound one was completed in 1968. In early 2016, the Delaware River and Bay Authority (DRBA) contracted with American Bridge Company of Coraopolis, PA to construct and install a new cable preservation system on both spans of the Delaware Memorial Bridge. The project is expected to be completed in spring of 2018.