Tuesday, June 3, 2014

I-495 Closed in Delaware: Notes from the Department of Redundancy Department

I-495, the interstate bypass of Wilmington, Delaware is closed down now due to a very problematic bridge (story here).
Since I have occasion to travel on this road frequently (the last time being the morning of the day the bridge problem was discovered and the road closed!), I can sympathize with DelDOT’s challenge in getting this heavily traveled roadway (90,000 AADT) back into service.
Fortunately, there are alternatives: I-95 through downtown Wilmington, the New Jersey Turnpike, I-295 (also on the New Jersey side of the river), and lesser roads.  Amtrak and SEPTA also provide excellent service through the area for trips that can be switched to rail.  The trick is to keep travelers informed and direct them to alternatives.  The I-495 problem is a reminder of the importance of redundancy in our systems – not just for natural calamities, but also for all-too-common infrastructure failures.

Good luck to Shailen Bhatt and his team in getting through this!

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