Mountain of dirt suspected in bridge closure

RANDALL CHASE Associated Press Published:

DOVER, Del. (AP) -- Officials say they believe a contractor is responsible for dumping a massive mound of dirt suspected of shifting the ground underneath an interstate highway bridge and forcing its closure.

Delaware Transportation Secretary Shailen Bhatt says contractor Jim Thomas is working with department to remove the dirt, which officials believe was dumped next to the Interstate 495 bridge in Wilmington over a period of years.

Thomas couldn't be immediately reached for comment.

Engineers suspect the dirt's weight caused soils to shift, resulting in the tilting of several bridge columns Officials are trying to determine the mound's exact measurements, but it appears to rise about two stories and stretch nearly the length of a football field.

The bridge closed Monday and will remain closed until engineers figure out how to brace it.

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