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Highways, Byways, And Bridge Photography
Reedy Point Bridge
DE-9 Chesapeake & Delaware Canal Crossing
Delaware City, DE

Reedy Point Bridge

• Structure ID: NBI: 1496002.
• Location: 1.0 Miles West Of Reedy Point.
• Canal Elevation: 0 Feet (Sea Level).
• Highway: DE-9.
• Daily Traffic Count: 1,742 (2002).
• Bridge Type: Continuous Steel Thru Truss, Steel Girder Approaches.
• Length: 8,432 Feet, 600 Foot Longest Span.
• Width: 2 Traffic Lanes, 26 Feet.
• Navigation Channel Width: 400 Feet.
• Height Above Water: 136 Feet.
• Date Built: 1968, Reconstructed 1985.
The C&D Canal runs east and west under the present day DE-9 Reedy Point Bridge. However, the canal originally ran northeast and southwest passing through Delaware City. At that time, the highway ran along the south bank of the canal and crossed a bridge at Delaware City. The canal was rerouted in the mid-1920s. The new path of the canal cut this highway in two, blocking the can crossing. The highway was rerouted north and south across the tidal flats along the Delaware River, and a lift bridge was built across the canal. This lift bridge operated until the canal was widened in 1954. At that time, the lift bridge was removed, again, severing the highway crossing. The highway remained closed until the new Reedy Point Bridge was opened in 1968. The bridge was built by and is owned by the US Army Corps of Engineers.

The new bridge is a large steel truss structure. Since the truss crosses more than two piers, it is known as a continuous truss. The two spans on each end of the bridge are below the traffic deck. They act as weight to balance the outer one-fourth of the structure on each side of the main canal span. These portions of the main canal span in turn hold up the middle half of the canal span, which is a flat section of truss. Since the first two spans serve to hold up the center of the bridge, this is known as a cantilever style of truss.

Given that highway DE-9 runs just a few feet above sea level, yet the bridge has to allow ocean going ships to pass under the main span, the bridge has a lot of approach spans. The National Bridge Inventory lists 64 approach spans. They are made of a pair of steel girders that have truss-like cross-bracing between the girders under the highway deck.

The Reedy Point Bridge is located about a mile from the east end of the C&D Canal. There is a very good view of the canal entrance from the northbound lane of DE-9 as you cross the bridge. The canal entrance is also visible from the access road that runs along the south side of canal. This access road can be reached by turning off of DE-9 at the far south end of the bridge. It follows the older route of DE-9 to the site of the former lift bridge. The old route of DE-9 to the north end of the former lift bridge also still exists. The route is the access road for the Fort DuPont State Park. The last 800 feet of the access road is blocked off, but it is open to pedestrian traffic to walk to the north shore of the canal channel.

The photos above and below are views of the Reedy Point Bridge as seen looking southeast from Fort DuPont State Park on the north shore of the C&D Canal. The photo above is a wider view that includes some of the approach spans, while the photo below is a closer view of the main canal channel span.


Reedy Point Bridge
Reedy Point Bridge
These two photos, and the six that follow, are views of the Reedy Point Bridge from the tow path on the south side of the canal looking to the northeast. The photo above is looking north across the canal along the west face of the bridge. The photo below is a view of the bridge piers on the north side of the canal that support the truss structure.

Reedy Point Bridge
Reedy Point Bridge
These two photos are views of the east face of the bridge truss structure over the canal channel. The photo above is the closest vantage point where I could fit the entire canal span into one frame, while the photo below is a view from a bit further west. The east canal entrance is about a mile east of the bridge.

Reedy Point Bridge
Reedy Point Bridge
These two photos are close views of the bridge structure. The photo above is the truss structure above the south main bridge pier. The photo below is a section of the truss above the canal channel. Note that the truss in the channel span is exactly level and flat, which is a bit unusual for a long truss span.

Reedy Point Bridge
Reedy Point Bridge
These two photos are views of the main bridge piers. The photo above is looking directly north across the C&D Canal, while the photo below is a close view of the south main bridge pier. Note that the bridge pier is set in the water, which is unusual for the bridges on the canal.

Reedy Point Bridge
Reedy Point Bridge
These two photos are views of the lower level approach spans at the south end of the Reedy Point Bridge. Note that the height of the steel girders increases in size after the tenth span in the photo above. As a result, the photo above shows many of the spans with the thinner girders, while the photo below shows spans with the thicker girders.

Reedy Point Bridge
Reedy Point Bridge
These two photos are views of the taller approach spans leading to the main truss structure. The photo above is a view looking south along the west face of the approach spans, while the photo below is looking south directly under the bridge deck.

Reedy Point Bridge
Reedy Point Bridge
The photo above is a view looking up towards the truss structure above the south main bridge pier. The photo below is the first of a seven photo set showing a typical bridge crossing heading northbound. In this photo, we are approaching the south end of the bridge. Note the US Army Corps of Engineers sign with the bridge name.

Reedy Point Bridge
Reedy Point Bridge
These two photos continue our northbound bridge crossing. In the photo above, we are heading up the lower level approach spans towards the curve on the south end of the bridge. We have pass the curve in the photo below, and we are heading up the taller approach spans.

Reedy Point Bridge
Reedy Point Bridge
These two photos continue our northbound bridge crossing. We are just entering the main truss span in the photo above, while we are about one-third of the way across the main channel span in the photo below.

Reedy Point Bridge
Reedy Point Bridge
These two photos are the last of a seven photo set showing a northbound bridge crossing. We are nearing the north end of the truss structure in the photo above, and have exited the truss in the photo below as we continue down the approach spans towards Delaware City.

Reedy Point Bridge

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