Landowners blamed for Del. bridge damage; fines could total millions
WILMINGTON, Del. — The owners of land in Delaware where a huge mound of dirt caused damage to an interstate highway bridge on a key East Coast artery have been served with violation notices by state environmental regulators.
The notices were the first effort by the state to recoup repair costs estimated at $45 million.
DuPont Co. and Wilmington-based Alma Properties LLC received nearly identical letters claiming numerous violations of state law or administrative code, The News Journal of Wilmington reported on Tuesday.
The letters from the Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control don't assign blame for the damage to the bridge, but they list violations that could lead to fines of as much as $2,000 a day. Depending on the duration of the violations, the fines could reach millions.
The bridge carries Interstate 495, an 11-mile bypass that helps alleviate congestion on Interstate 95. The bridge was closed in June because support columns were tilting. The southbound lanes were reopened on July 31, and the northbound lanes are expected to reopen by Labor Day.
A DuPont spokesman said in a statement on Monday that the company “strongly disagrees” with the enforcement action and that it never authorized the stockpiling of dirt beneath the bridge.
The dirt was stored there by a contractor, apparently without the knowledge or consent of state officials, and the weight of the 50,000-ton mound is believed to have caused underground soil to shift, damaging the structures that support the bridge columns.
DuPont had a lease agreement with another company allowing it to use the property. That company had a separate agreement with Keogh Contracting Company, which is controlled by the contractor who dumped the dirt.
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments â either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.