Delaware's congressional delegation has announced a nearly $57 million grant from the U.S. Department of Transportation to the DelDOT for the construction of a redesigned interchange at I-95 and State Route 896 near Newark.
The new interchange will improve safety and reduce congestion by adding two flyovers, realigning existing ramps and addressing other deficiencies with the current roadway geometry.
At present, 60 percent of vehicles on I-95 (Delaware Turnpike) traveling southbound exit at SR 896, creating congestion and safety issues. The interchange experiences its heaviest traffic in the peak hours, along with accidents during different times of the day. Improvements at the interchange to address these and other related issues have been discussed for many years as traffic has increased.
To alleviate the problem, the new improvements will include a dedicated exit ramp for southbound SR 896 for motorists from I-95, as well as a dedicated on-ramp from SR 896 to northbound I-95.
The total project cost is $143 million, and with this grant award, construction will now begin in the fall of 2022, two years earlier than expected.
The funding comes from the USDOT's Nationally Significant Freight and Highway Projects Program, or INFRA Grants program.
"This major grant of federal funding will go a long way to improve safety and, ultimately, save lives along the I-95 corridor in Delaware," said U.S. Senator Tom Carper, the leading Democrat on the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee.
"By reducing traffic and easing congestion, this project will greatly reduce fatalities and serious injuries while better facilitating commerce in our state. These safety improvements will spur economic growth, and less congestion will enable greater access to the city of Newark, the University of Delaware and its blossoming Science, Technology and Advanced Research [STAR] Campus."
Carper was joined by Delaware's junior Senator, Chris Coons, and U.S. Representative Lisa Blunt Rochester, in making the announcement of the federal grant.
"This funding and this project are really about the safety of Delaware commuters, including students who use this interchange almost every day," explained Coons. "Any parent who uses this intersection or has kids who frequently drive to and from Glasgow High, Newark High or other schools farther down SR 896 knows that improving the safety and capacity of this interchange is long overdue."
Delaware Congresswoman Blunt Rochester added, "Improving the safety of the I-95 and SR 896 interchange has been a priority for our state for a long time now. This INFRA Grant from the federal Department of Transportation means that we can finally address the safety and capacity issues on SR 896. I want to thank DelDOT for their work in securing the grant and spearheading the project; Sen. Carper, who sits on the Environment and Public Works Committee; and Sen. Coons, who sits on the Appropriations Committee, for their tireless efforts on behalf of all Delawareans."