A federal grant will allow the Delaware Department of Transportation (DelDOT) to accelerate a capital improvement project for the I-95/South College Avenue interchange in Newark.
The state's congressional delegation (Senators Carper and Coons, and Congresswoman Lisa Blunt-Rochester) announced a nearly $57 million grant from the U.S. Department of Transportation's Nationally Significant Freight and Highway Projects Program (INFRA).
Spokesman C.R. McLeod said the grant is the largest the department has received through this program and will allow DelDOT to move the timeline for the project up about two years.
"In the current capital transportation program we had budgeted for this project to begin construction in late 2024 given all of our other obligations," said McLeod. "We're now able to begin construction on this project in late 2022."
The goal of the multi-year reconstruction is to improve safety and reduce congestion.
"We're going to be adding two new flyovers, realigning existing ramps, and addressing other deficiencies that exist with the current interchange."
McLeod said 60-percent of southbound I-95 traffic in the area exits at the South College Avenue interchange which has been the scene of "hundreds of crashes over the past decade."
"During peak travel times we do see backups occurring onto 95 which is not good," said McLeod.
In September, 2019 a horrific wreck occurred when a tractor trailer at full speed failed to stop for slowed traffic on southbound I-95 prior to the 896 interchange.
A Middletown man was pronounced dead at the scene and a Newark girl died as a result of her injuries. Her mother was permanently disabled.
The tight curved ramp from southbound I-95 to southbound Route 896 has also seen its fair share of truck rollovers.
"That entire interchange does not meet the needs of today's traffic standards," said McLeod. "This project will be improving safety for motorists using all areas of this interchange."
We believe the finished project will provide a much safer and efficient experience for motorists."