State goes to court to seek reimbursement for I-495 bridge repairs

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The Delaware Department of Transportation (DelDOT) is filing suit against contractors and DuPont Co. to come up with reimbursements for the shifting piers that shut down the key bridge on Interstate 495.

The move comes as DelDOT received notification this week that it will receive an additional $2.4 million allocation from the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Emergency Relief program for costs associated with the bridge pier repair.

Click here for past stories on the closing in 2014.

“Our primary goal was to resolve the unprecedented issue with the I-495 bridge as quickly and safely as possible. This resulted in a significant unplanned expense for DelDOT, and we are grateful to the U.S. Department of Transportation for their support with these additional funds,” said Secretary of Transportation Jennifer Cohan.

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With this additional allocation of federal funds, DelDOT will have received more than 96 percent of the project’s final cost in federal funding from the Federal Highway Administration for the project.

Anticipated Final I-495 Bridge Project Breakdown
Federal Dollars Expended: $43,375,339.00
State Dollars Expended: $1,242,275.07
Total: $44,617,614.07

Still, DelDOT will continue to seek money from entities that left materials under the bridge.

After completing the investigation to identify the responsible parties and attempting to negotiate a settlement by corresponding with the entities associated with the property next to the bridge – Alma Properties LLC, DuPont, Keogh Contracting Company, and Port Contractors, Inc. – DelDOT has filed a lawsuit in Superior Court in Delaware.

According to a statement, DelDOT determined that it was important to file this suit now to not further delay the final resolution.

In the lawsuit, the Department is requesting reimbursement for damages as a result of the soil stockpile which had been placed next to the bridge and was determined to be the cause of the shifting bridge supports.

The department had been hoping to settle these claims outside of court and has been working toward that goal for more than two years by attempting to meet jointly with all parties, but not all parties were cooperative.

Finally, after the I-495 bridge emergency, DelDOT performed a comprehensive review of all of its bridges and elevated roadways. Of the 1,715 bridges, 95 percent are currently rated good/fair.

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