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DRBA Commission Approves Capital Improvement Program for Crossing Facilities
By JSalmon on 03/24/2010:  

 

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DRBA Commission Approves Capital Improvement Program for Crossing Facilities
Budgets Approximately $248 Million for Bridge, Ferry Projects through 2014
 
            (New Castle, DE) The Delaware River and Bay Authority (DRBA) Commissioners recently approved Resolution 10-05, which adopted a Five-Year Capital Improvement Program (CIP) of approximately $248 million for the Authority’s Crossing facilities. The board action took place at the bi-state agency’s monthly meeting held in James Julian Boardroom at the DRBA Administrative Complex in New Castle, Delaware. The entire plan is available on the agency's website at www.drba.net.
 
            According to James N. Hogan, Chairman of the DRBA, these capital investments are essential to properly maintain and improve the agency’s aging infrastructure. “The Twin Spans of the Delaware Memorial Bridge handle more than 33 million vehicles annually and are vital links on the I-95 north-south corridor while the Cape May - Lewes Ferry transports more than one million vehicles and passengers each year and is integral to the tourism community in both States,” Hogan said. "Both transportation facilities are located in harsh marine environments and were built in the 1950s and 1960s - a combination of age and location that requires constant maintenance and rehabilitation. We have a fiduciary responsibility to keep them in good condition and the implementation of this 5-Year CIP will assure that the public continues to enjoy quality transportation services safely and efficiently.”
 
            The 2010 Capital Improvement Program (CIP) for the Delaware Memorial Bridge (DMB) and Cape May – Lewes Ferry (CMLF) is approximately $33.3 million and includes the following major projects:
 
Phase IV- Delaware Approach Widening, Repaving & Modifications - I-295 Southbound - I-95 to Landers Lane: The age of our facilities combined with heavy truck traffic, drives these required recommended road and bridge improvements. The existing pavement roadway surface exhibits spalling and cracking, which requires resurfacing.   Several bridge decks need to be either widened or redecked to maintain an acceptable level of service. This work includes geometric improvements and greater lane capacities to meet future needs and provide for an acceptable level of service. Currently, I-295 is experiencing high traffic densities in the area of the Farnhurst Interchange, which has two lanes of through-traffic. Prior the interchange, four lanes of traffic are present, which has created service and operational capacity issues resulting in undesirable merging and weave patterns. In addition, the DRBA owns, operates and maintains 16 approach overpass bridge structures. Ten of the bridges (Farnhurst Interchange Bridges 1, 4, 5, 6, 7E, 7R, 7W, 8E, 8W and 9) are over forty-three years old. Given the heavy use of these bridges by truck traffic, the design life of these structures is generally 40 to 50 years.
 
Phase IV includes rehabilitation of I-295 Southbound. Bridge overpasses 4, 5, 7W and 8W will be eliminated during this phase. Bridge 6 is scheduled for replacement. During this phase, Ramp D (new Ramp I) will be relocated. Ramp E will be rehabilitated. Estimated cost for Phase IV is $29.3 million with the project complete by 2015.   Design will be complete in 2011. Construction work is planned to begin in 2012.    At the conclusion of Phase IV, the multi-phased DE Approach Roads Improvement Project will be complete. In preparation for the work scheduled to begin in 2012, a contract estimated at $1.3 million will be released in 2010. This contract work will address needed road work to bridge the gap until the 2012-2015 larger construction project and to prepare for the upcoming work.  
 
Steelwork Full Overcoat Rehabilitation System, 2nd Structure – DMB:    As part of the DMB rehabilitation program, a full overcoat system will be necessary for significant parts of the 2nd Structure. Since 1993, the annual maintenance repainting program has focused on spot repair and repainting to the maximum extent possible. This has been an effective approach on the 1st structure which is scheduled for 100% lead paint removal/repainting in the 2014-2018 timeframe in conjunction with the deck replacement project.  The plan is to continue the spot repair approach on the 1st structure until practical not to do so. The 2nd structure is not scheduled for deck replacement, seismic retrofits, and lead paint removal until the 2020-2025 timeframe. The current annual maintenance spot painting is forecasted to not be an effective program to bridge the gap to the 2nd Structure improvement program; therefore, a full overcoat system to bridge the gap is necessary. This overall $22.2 million program will cost $2 million in 2010 and $10.3 million over 5 years.
 
Miscellaneous Steelwork/Elevator Replacement/Security Improvements - DMB: This work involves such items of work as replacement of worn bearing assemblies, access platforms, maintenance of steel connections, installing safety features, and other work as required. Over the next few years, stringer bearing assemblies and other improvements are planned. The existing DMB tower elevators (1st Structure (DE Tower South leg and NJ Tower North leg)) (2nd Structure (DE Tower South leg and NJ Tower North leg)) are aging and have exhibited frequent unplanned maintenance outages over the past few years. The existing wiring and mechanisms are original and the systems are beyond their design life. It is recommended that eight new exterior elevators (one per tower leg) be installed. Based upon a security vulnerability assessment, further security enhancements are planned as well. The projected cost for this line is $13.5 million over three years.
 
Traffic Management System-DMB: Improvements are recommended to the current traffic management system including the replacement of eight (8) obsolete variable message signals (VMS) on existing overhead gantries as well as a system software upgrade. The projected cost in 2010 is $1.45 million and $2.55 million over a two year period. Analysis still is required to validate need for eight (8) VMS signs and size and capability of replacement signs.  
 
1st Structure Improvement Program - DMB: Based on the age, heavy truck traffic volume, and an engineering assessment, it is anticipated that deck and suspender rope replacement will be required between 2014 and 2018. The age of the bridge and cable system on both spans warrants an in-depth inspection of each main cable and suspender ropes. This cable inspection will help identify future repairs, if any. The projected cost for the cable inspection project is $7 million and will be complete in 2011.   A Project Manager for this work is now under contract and will assist the Authority in planning, coordinating, monitoring, estimating, and scheduling the 1st structure improvement program. Within this program, lead paint abatement (100% replacement of painting system) and seismic upgrades of the 1st Structure shall also be considered. The total cost of this program is estimated at $300 million. Studies will begin in 2010 with design activities starting in 2012. Construction will begin in 2014. The budgeted cost for this line in 2010 is $1.8 million and $88.5 million through 2014.
 
Rehabilitation of Approach Roads (Phase I)-Cape May: Cape May Approach Roads are in need of rehabilitation. The existing surface exhibits significant spalling and cracking. This project includes the construction of an additional lane along a portion (approximately 1.4 miles) of the approach roads, re-construction of the existing pavement, and upgrading safety features to meet present standards (i.e. guiderail, lighting, drainage, signage). Design is nearing completion and is currently under review by NJDOT. This project is planned for 2010-2011. Phase II design and construction, which includes the remainder of Sandman Boulevard and access roads into the terminal will begin in 2013. The Authority has applied for a grant in the amount of $2.2 million to help fund Phase I of this work. This budget line also includes $450,000 for work associated with the project regarding the upgrade of the existing railroad crossing operated by Cape May Seashore lines. The total projected cost for Phase I is $6.8 million with the Authority’s share being $4.6 million.
 
Dolphins/Miscellaneous Fendering Improvements – CMLF: Slips 1 and 2 at both the Cape May and Lewes Terminals have had their original wooden fendering systems replaced with a composite fender system. The rehabilitation replaced various size timber clusters with a significantly upgraded energy absorption system which includes fiberglass fendering panels and rubber docking donuts. In Cape May, there are numerous timber pile structures that require work. The original wooden fendering systems in Slips 3, 4, 5, and 6 need work to keep them fully functional until full replacement is necessary. Wire rope wraps and steel-wear plates will be replaced on several timber pile clusters (dolphins) as well as three donut fenders needing work. Numerous concrete piles and bents require concrete repairs. The existing floating docks used for the smaller vessels are aging and need to be replaced as well. The integrity of the fendering units is important in protecting the vessels and providing for proper mooring facilities. This work also includes improvements of the lighthouse on the Lewes breakwater and miscellaneous work at the 3 Forts Ferry operation. This project is committed and underway and will be complete in 2010. The projected cost to complete this work in 2010 is $2.7 million.
 
Freeman Highway Bridge Rehabilitation-Lewes: Last painted in 1978, the Freeman Highway Bridge needs to be cleaned, repainted, and renovated. The concrete piers exhibit some deterioration and require work. Bridge parapets should be upgraded to current standards. The bridge expansion joints, approach slabs, and miscellaneous steelwork require rehabilitation as well. Freeman Highway guiderail requires replacement as well and will be done during the bridge rehabilitation. The contract is awarded and construction began on March 7. The work is expected to be completed in September 2010.    The projected cost for this line is $2 million in 2010.  
 
            On the horizon, the DRBA has identified some major projects that will require significant resources during the next ten years. These projects, some of which are scheduled for design this year, are estimated to cost more than $300 million. Included on the must-do list are Phase IV-Delaware Approach Widening, Repaving and Modifications, I-295 Southbound (I-95 to Landers Lane); Bridge Re-Decking Program and Lead Paint Abatement of the New Jersey-Bound Span; New Toll Collection System; and the CMLF Vessel Improvement Program. As a result of these future vital infrastructure needs, the DRBA will be required to raise additional revenues at the Delaware Memorial Bridge in 2010 to fund these capital projects.

            The DRBA, a bi-state governmental agency created by Compact in 1962, owns and operates the Delaware Memorial Bridge, the Cape May- Lewes Ferry, the Three Forts Ferry Crossing and the Salem Business Centre in Carney’s Point Twp., NJ. The DRBA also manages corporate and aviation properties through its economic development powers - two airports in New Jersey (Millville Airport and Cape May Airport) and three in Delaware (New Castle Airport, Civil Air Terminal and Delaware Airpark). All DRBA operating revenues are generated through the bridge, ferry and airport facilities.
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