Community frustrated after officials delay Laurel bridge opening again

LAUREL, Del. – A community is frustrated after officials have once again postponed the opening date of the Central Avenue Bridge in Laurel.

The bridge was first supposed to be completed back in January of this year, then another June deadline, but now DelDOT says it won’t be open until the end of summer.

“It’s very frustrating and agonizing,” explains Patrick Wils, Pizza King GM.

That’s the reaction of many in Laurel after learning that the opening of the Central Avenue Bridge has been delayed once again, now to the end of the summer.

“It’s been tough for a lot of people,” says local resident James Wood.

DelDOT engineer George Pierce explains, “It’s been an ongoing cumulative issue. The more we’re taking apart, the more we’ve found that it needs to be analyzed by the engineers or fabricated in a steel shop in Pennsylvania.”

It’s been a long process for DelDOT trying to rehab this century old bridge, one that’s kept it closed for over a year. It’s a project that’s drastically hurting the businesses on Central Avenue.

Wils tells 47 ABC, “About 1/3 of our business has gone away. Basically what that means is a third of our income isn’t coming anymore and that’s just from a loss from breakfast, lunch and dinner. We had to cut back breakfast cooks because of that.”

Not to mention, a tough closure for local residents too.

Woods adds, “I have to go all the way through town down Route 24 and it takes 10 minutes longer to work every day.”

So while the contractors are continuing to finish repairs, the community is just ready to get their bridge back.

“I wish they would’ve just given us an actual date stuck with it at least we would know what was coming,” says Wils.

Wood adds, “I’d like to see the bridge is open back up, but I understand things need to happen maintenance, repairs.”

DelDOT says because the project was originally supposed to be done in January and has now been pushed back past their June deadline, they’ll start assessing whether or not to fine the contractors $1,060 a day after June 29th.

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