Monday, March 2, 2015
FAIRFIELD-SUISUN, CALIFORNIA
99 CENTS

Del. businessman: I reported bridge problems in April

By
From page A10 | June 07, 2014 |

DOVER, Del. — A Delaware businessman said he told state transportation officials nearly two months ago something was wrong with a major highway bridge, raising further questions about why they waited until this week to inspect the span and close it after discovering tilting supporting columns.

Charles Allen Jr. told The Associated Press on Friday he noticed that the cement Jersey barriers dividing the northbound and southbound lanes of the Interstate 495 bridge in Wilmington were separating when driving over the bridge on April 15.

“I’ve been driving that road for 34 years,” said Allen, owner of an automotive body shop in Wilmington who lives in Elkton, Maryland. “When you see something off, it catches your eye.”

Allen, 53, said he called 911 after not being able to reach the transportation department immediately. He said a transportation official called him back minutes later and told him someone would look at the bridge the following day. He said that was the last he heard from the department before he started making calls again after the bridge was closed Monday.

“I was ditched by these guys,” Allen said. “They didn’t do their job and they really aggravated me. … That’s what makes me so mad.”

Allen spoke to the AP after The News Journal of Wilmington published an interview with him on its website Friday. The newspaper also posted a recording of the 911 call.

Transportation secretary Shailen Bhatt told the AP his department is “running down details” on Allen’s story and will provide a full briefing on Monday.

Kelly Bachman, a spokesman for Democratic Gov. Jack Markell, said the governor “has full confidence in Secretary Bhatt.” She said the state’s focus was on finding a way to fix the bridge, and once that’s done, officials will fully evaluate the agency’s response.

Earlier Friday, Bhatt said an engineer working on an unrelated project near the bridge first reported problems with the bridge May 29. Bhatt said senior managers in his agency became aware the next day and ordered an inspection Monday. The bridge was closed immediately.

“We closed the bridge in time,” he said. “We did not have a failure. That bridge is still standing and nobody has been injured. I’m happy to accept responsibility for this agency’s actions.”

Still, Bhatt said he would have preferred his agency to have moved more quickly to inspect and shut down the bridge.

The bridge, which normally carries an average of 90,000 vehicles daily around Wilmington, will be closed indefinitely as engineers figure out how to brace it. Most of the detoured traffic is on already-clogged I-95, which passes through downtown.

The federal government has pledged to pay 90 percent of the cost of permanent repairs and has already approved $2 million in emergency funds. The cost of fixing the bridge hasn’t been determined.

Engineers working with Delaware officials suspect that a massive mound of dirt dumped near the bridge, partly on the government’s property, might have caused the ground underneath the span to shift and four pairs of columns to tilt. The contractor who stored the dirt there is working with the state to remove it.

Officials said Friday that the weight of the dirt mound has been estimated at 50,000 tons. That’s equal to about 1,250 18-wheel tractor-trailers at the maximum gross vehicle weight of 80,000 lbs.

Officials also said Friday that tilt sensors placed on the bridge Monday have shown no additional significant movement.

Engineers have completed inspections of all eight affected columns and found cracking consistent with the lateral displacement of soil, in all the concrete footers. No corrosion was found in the tops of the underground steel piles anchored to the footers.

Agency consultants are reviewing design options to create a new foundation for the damaged section of the bridge, officials said.

Dave Charles, the geotechnical engineer who reported the problem last week, said he returned to the bridge on Tuesday and saw that the columns had shifted even farther.

Charles said after he and a colleague working on an unrelated project near the bridge noticed May 29 that it appeared to be tilting, he sent matter-of-fact emails with cellphone photographs about 6 p.m. that day to an employee of the Delaware transportation department’s bridge unit. Charles said the employee, whom he declined to name, acknowledged about 90 minutes later that he had received the emails.

“I think the person who received it took it seriously,” Charles said.

In his April 911 call, Allen is heard telling a dispatcher, “It appears to be an emergency. … The two road beds are lifting up opposing each other, and it doesn’t look right. Something’s wrong. … There may be something seriously wrong with that bridge.”

The Associated Press

The Associated Press

LEAVE A COMMENT

Discussion | No comments

The Daily Republic does not necessarily condone the comments here, nor does it review every post. Read our full policy

.

Solano News

World War II spy shares tales of work behind enemy lines

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: A1 | Gallery

 
Whiteside ready to take Travis school board seat

By Bill Hicks | From Page: A1 | Gallery

I love to ‘read’ audiobooks

By Tony Wade | From Page: A2

 
Council to hear budget scenarios

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: A3

 
Fairfield High School celebrates black history

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A3

 
Warm winter afternoon at Lagoon Valley Park

By Steve Reczkowski | From Page: A3, 4 Comments | Gallery

Free medical series targets senior health issues

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A3

 
Pena Adobe hosts natural dye-making presentation

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A3

 
PublicStuff, an online app, set for Fairfield

By Ryan McCarthy | From Page: A3

Beginning gardening series starts in March

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A3

 
Literacy celebration returns this month

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A3

Vacaville 4-alarm house fIre

By Steve Reczkowski | From Page: A4, 2 Comments | Gallery

 
IHOP takes part in National Pancake Day

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A4, 3 Comments

Local governments schedule meetings this week

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A4

 
Corner Store Gallery schedules open house

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A10

Weather for Monday, March 2, 2015

By Daily Republic staff | From Page: B10

 
.

US / World

 
Kerry tries to dampen fuss over Israeli PM’s speech

By The Associated Press | From Page: A1

Hundreds of bills introduced by California lawmakers

By The Associated Press | From Page: A1

 
California GOP recognizes gay faction of party

By The Associated Press | From Page: A4, 3 Comments

 
Storm brings rain, thunder, hail to Southern California

By The Associated Press | From Page: A4

Spacewalking astronauts finish extensive, tricky cable job

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

 
Newspaper: Nurse who survived Ebola says hospital failed her

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

 
Myanmar captures rare white elephant in western jungles

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

Crowd kills girl suspected to be suicide bomber in Nigeria

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

 
New plane tracking to be tested after Malaysia jet mystery

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

 
Activists say Islamic State releases 19 Syrian Christians

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

Sierra Leone’s vice president in quarantine for Ebola

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

 
30,000 marchers in Moscow mourn slain Putin foe

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

.

Opinion

Your right to work for less

By Mike Kirchubel | From Page: A8, 49 Comments

 
Right fight in DC, but wrong reason

By Colbert I. King | From Page: A8

Editorial Cartoon: March 2, 2015

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
A night with a King

By Delon Jackson | From Page: A8

 
.

Living

Today in History: March 2, 2015

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

 
Community Calendar: March 2, 2015

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A2

Horoscopes: March 3, 2015

By Holiday Mathis | From Page: B5

 
Why timeouts only prolong the problem

By The Washington Post | From Page: B5, 1 Comment

Horoscopes: March 2, 2015

By Holiday Mathis | From Page: A7

 
It’s never a good idea to point out how big a pregnant woman is

By Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar | From Page: A7

.

Entertainment

 
Will Smith’s ‘Focus’ tops box office with $19.1 million

By The Associated Press | From Page: B6

Lady Gaga, Vince Vaughn take charity polar plunge in Chicago

By The Associated Press | From Page: B6

 
TVGrid March 2

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A10

TVGrid March 3

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B11

 
.

Sports

Lillard, Aldridge lead Blazers past Kings for 3rd in a row

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

 
Curry scores 37, leads Warriors from 26 down to beat Celtics

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
Jimmie Johnson pulls away for another Atlanta Sprint Cup win

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1 | Gallery

Giants reliever Strickland insists he’s tranquil on mound

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

 
Indians open season with 12-4 win over Falcons

By Daily Republic staff | From Page: B2, 1 Comment

Oregon beats Stanford 73-70, clinches bye in Pac-12 tourney

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Process gets underway to carve up $60 million Sandusky fine

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Cal’s big run lifts Bears past Oregon State 73-56

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Former Washington basketball star Christian Welp dies at 51

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Sharks trade Sheppard to Rangers for draft pick

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
4,000 attend Jerry Tarkanian tribute in Las Vegas arena

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Garnett buys 1,000 tickets for fans for next T-wolves game

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Poulter, Casey share lead at rain-delayed Honda Classic

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Blatter concerned by Russian soccer racism before World Cup

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Broadcasters propose FIFA election debate to Blatter, rivals

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Major league baseball’s 1st black Latino star Minoso dies

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2 | Gallery

 
Seller’s market for NHL teams as trade deadline nears

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Andy Sullivan wins Joburg Open for 2nd title this year

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
South Korea’s Amy Yang wins Honda LPGA Thailand

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Hannah hurls Bulldogs to 2-0 win over Campolindo

By Daily Republic staff | From Page: B2

 
Oregon women upset No. 19 Stanford 62-55

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
This date in sports history for March 2, 2015

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

Yankees’ Alex Rodriguez nearing 1st spring game

By The Associated Press | From Page: B7

 
Fast and furious: Rousey looks to future after 14-second win

By The Associated Press | From Page: B7 | Gallery

.

Business

Mimi’s adds breakfast items to menu

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A10

 
Samsung ditches plastic design, adds mobile pay in new phone

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

In Apple’s latest update, emojis get diverse

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

 
.

Obituaries

Jacqueline Mendes

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

 
Lester Singer

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

.

Comics

Baby Blues March 3

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
Rose is Rose March 3

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

Baldo March 3

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
Zits March 3

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

Garfield March 3

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
Sally Forth March 3

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

Get Fuzzy March 3

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
Frank and Ernest March 3

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

Dilbert March 3

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
Beetle Bailey March 3

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

Blondie March 3

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
For Better or Worse March 3

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

Wizard of Id March 3

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
Pickles March 3

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

Peanuts March 3

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
B.C. March 3

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

Cryptoquote March 3

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

 
Word Sleuth March 3

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

Bridge March 3

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

 
Crossword March 3

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

Sudoku March 3

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

 
Baby Blues March 2

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

B.C. March 2

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

 
Beetle Bailey March 2

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

Peanuts March 2

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

 
For Better or Worse March 2

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

Dilbert March 2

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

 
Baldo March 2

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

Zits March 2

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

 
Rose is Rose March 2

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

Pickles March 2

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

 
Garfield March 2

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

Get Fuzzy March 2

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

 
Frank and Ernest March 2

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

Blondie March 2

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

 
Sally Forth March 2

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

Wizard of Id March 2

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

 
Sudoku March 2

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A7

Bridge March 2

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A7

 
Word Sleuth March 2

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A7

Crossword March 2

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A7

 
Cryptoquote March 2

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A7