Now that summer has unofficially started, thousands of Philadelphia-area residents are making the trek southward to Rehoboth Beach and the Outer Banks for some well-deserved fun in the sun. That journey just got a little more extreme thanks to America’s crumbling infrastructure.
Melissa Nann Burke writes for Delaware Online that engineers from the Delaware Department of Transportation (DelDOT) were forced to close a section of Interstate 495 yesterday.
The segment in question, where I-495 crosses the Christiana River, “carries an average 90,000 vehicles a day.” To get around the mess, “northbound traffic must exit I-495 at Terminal Avenue” with southbound traffic “diverted at the Pennsylvania line.”
In other words, drivers can instead take good ol’ I-95 to get the scenic view of downtown Wilmington instead of the bucolic smokestack and chemical plant-ridden ride down I-495.
Typically, drivers wanting to advance southward with no reason to stop in Wilmington (which means pretty much all drivers from Philadelphia) take I-495 as a bypass around Delaware’s largest city.
Now, they can’t. “Indefinitely,” according to DelDOT. The problem seems to be concerns with structural columns supporting the highway over the river span there. Basically, “Oh god, what is that cracking spund?” it seems.
This is, quite literally, where the rubber hits the road in terms of taxpayer-funded governmental responsibilities otherwise known as infrastructure. Earlier this year, Vice President Joe Biden, formerly US Senator from Delaware and known for his fondness of infrastructure and Amtrak, called the nation’s crumbling infrastructure “embarrassing.”
Despite billions of dollars allocated to infrastructure improvements nationwide as part of the Obama administration’s stimulus package in his first term, the President has still requested additional funding from Congress to remedy these concerns.