The Washington Post

One summer getaway route is getting better

The shutdown of the I-495 bridge blocked the Wilmington bypass and put more drivers onto congested I-95.

This won’t help you at the start of your vacation, but it might help on the way back: The southbound half of Interstate 495 in Delaware has reopened a month ahead of schedule.

Drivers from the D.C. area use I-495 to avoid the congestion on I-95 through downtown Wilmington. Or at least they did, until the state was forced to close the bridge on June 2 after structural damage was discovered. The closing not only denied drivers the bypass route, but also made I-95 even more congested. Vacationers bound for the Northeast picked up on this problem right away and have been asking for updates.

See a few alternative routes I suggested after the bridge was shut.

The northbound lanes on the bridge over the Christina River should be open by Labor Day, the Delaware Department of Transportation said.

The southbound side opened early because the construction of new underground support columns moved more rapidly than expected. The work to jack the bridge into alignment took about three days, Delaware transportation officials said.

The 4,800-foot bridge normally carries approximately 90,000 vehicles per day.

Robert Thomson is The Washington Post’s “Dr. Gridlock.” He answers travelers’ questions, listens to their complaints and shares their pain on the roads, trains and buses in the Washington region.

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