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Delaware Bridge Gets $35M Dehumidifier

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

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To help offset any future damage caused by humidity, operators of the twin-span Delaware Memorial Bridge have installed a $35 million dehumidification system. The technology was designed to both protect the bridge and prevent cable failure.

“This is an investment in the future and something that will lengthen the life span of this bridge,” said Delaware River and Bay Authority Executive Director Thomas Cook. “It’s a small investment which will pay dividends for years.”

Dehumidification System

Delaware River and Bay Authority Project Engineer Shekhar Scindia told the Courier-Post the goal of the dehumidification system “is to extend the lives of the main cables that form the suspension bridge and carry the load from the suspended spans.” The main cables themselves are the most critical components of the suspension span.

Crispy1995, public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

To help offset any future damage caused by humidity, operators of the twin Delaware Memorial Bridge spans have installed a $35 million dehumidification system. The technology was designed to both protect the bridge and prevent cable failure.

The cable preservation system on the Delaware-bound span began operation Nov. 21; American Bridge Company, the winner of the contract for the project, is expected to complete the installation on the New Jersey-bound span in the spring of 2018.

Limiting Corrosion

The project includes the installation of airtight wraps on the two, 4,100-foot-long cables on each of the two bridges, noted the Courier Post. The dehumidification plants were installed in the bridges’ anchorages, with air injection and exhaust ports located along the cables.

The cables, composed of 8,000 single strands of steel, have dry air forced through them by the system, which pushes out the moist air as a result.

Dehumidifier launch
Delaware River and Bay Authority

The dehumidification system on the Delaware-bound span of the bridge began operation Nov. 21.

According to Scindia, once the humidity level drops to 30 percent, corrosion rates plummet to almost nothing.

The dehumidification system, funded with bridge tolls, is equipped with remote sensors and advanced monitoring systems to ensure proper functionality.

A single new span like one of the twin bridges would cost $800 million to $1.2 billion to replace.

The bridge is the second in the United States with such a dehumidification system, according to DRBA; the William Preston Lane Jr. Memorial Bridge, in Maryland, had a system installed in 2012. The Akashi Kaikyo Bridge, in Kobe, Japan, was the first in the world to be equipped with a dehumidifier.


Tagged categories: Bridges; Corrosion protection; Government; Infrastructure; Project Management

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