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Indian River Inlet Concerns Delaware State Officials

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The new bridge is still in progress, and the Army Corps of Engineers says the inlet itslef needs additional stabilization.
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The new bridge is still in progress, and the Army Corps of Engineers says the inlet itslef needs additional stabilization.

A major bridge project on Route 1 in Southern Delaware has been slowing commuters heading to the local beaches for years. But there's a new problem developing below.

Coastal officials say the inlet below the Indian River bridge is getting deeper by almost one foot a year. The salty waters are moving through faster and slowly deteriorating the pilings on the bridge.

That worries shoreline officials like Delaware coastal administrator Anthony Pratt.

"Every wave that breaks on the shore...moves sand in a direction, so when you put up two giant walls and have an inlet, there's no sand moving along," Pratt says.

A $150 million bridge makeover underway will eliminate the infrastructure concerns caused by the deepening channel, but the Army Corps of Engineers will still have to work to stabilize the inlet. That, they say, will take copious amounts of expensive sand pumping from nearby beaches.

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