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The Guide to Interstate 95 in Delaware

AADT | History | Guide | Planned Improvements | Cancelled Proposals | Links

Upon entering the Small Wonder from the Elkton, Maryland vicinity, Interstate 95 encounters the sprawling toll plaza of the Delaware Turnpike. Between the Maryland line and the Interstate 295 split, Interstate 95 continues the east-west orientation that it attains east of Baltimore, Maryland. The 11-mile stretch is dubbed the Delaware Turnpike or John F. Kennedy Memorial Highway. Forested frontage shrouds the burgeoning suburban sprawl that dominates the city of Newark and overall Wilmington metropolitan landscape between the state line and Exit 4 (Delaware 1 & 7) at the Christiana Mall. East of the busy cloverleaf interchange is the Christiana Marsh, the main water supply source for the Wilmington area Artesian Water Company. The eight lane stretch of freeway is the site of daily traffic delays due to heavy traffic volume departing the Diamond State for Interstate 295 and the Delaware Memorial Bridge. A widening of the stretch to ten lanes began in Summer 2007 and should be complete by November 2008. The pervasive interchange complex of Interstate 95 with U.S. 202 & Delaware 141, Interstate 295, and Interstate 495 is built within wetland areas associated with the nearby Christina River watershed. After the split of the Interstate 95 children and the addition of U.S. 202 north, the mainline continues northeast into the city of Wilmington. The terrain of the city provides for a viaduct entering the municipal area due to the low lying areas near the Christina River and southern portion of the local city street grid. The Appalachian fall line is pronounced between 4th and 5th Streets in Wilmington, allowing for Interstate 95 to transition from an elevated twin viaduct to a depressed four lane freeway. Fortunately the eastern United States faults are generally inactive, otherwise Interstate 95 might be at risk. A fault line actually is found underneath Interstate 95 through central Wilmington.

Continuing north from the Jackson to Adams Street trenches, Interstate 95 crosses high above the scenic Brandywine Creek and associated Park. The bridge features six lanes with the addition of an exit-only or auxiliary lane in each direction for the adjacent interchanges: Exit 7 - Delaware 52 and Exit 8 - U.S. 202 & Delaware 202. A refurbishment project completed in 2004 along Interstate 95 through the city of Wilmington. Landscaping, bridge painting, and safety improvements enhanced the urban freeway through the Corporate Capital of the World. A directional cloverleaf interchange facilitates the traffic movements of the U.S. 202 departure from Interstate 95. This busy interchange features heavy traffic and is often the location of additional traffic delays. Alternations and expansion of the interchange is underway as part of the Blue Ball construction project pertaining to U.S. 202 (Concord Pike).

Interstate 95 Brandywine Creek Bridge (03-30-04)

Interstate 95 crosses over the Brandywine Creek and Brandywine Park high above via a six-lane span. Photo looks northward at the crossing from the Van Buren Street Bridge over the same waterway. Photo taken March 30, 2004.

From Exit 8 north, Interstate 95 leaves the Wilmington city limits for its quietest (relatively speaking) stretch. Completed between 1961 and 1965, the freeway continues with just four lanes as it snakes its way northeast through the Brandywine Hundred communities. The highway again retains a forested facade that again shrouds the nearby residential development. Crossing the Interstate south of Exit 8 and paralleling it to the north, a CSX railroad line is often visible. The northern departure of the East Coast Main Street attains Interstate 495 traffic as it enters the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania near the town of Marcus Hook.

Mileage: 23.43

Delaware Reference Numbers:
56 - Maryland state line to Interstate 295
59 - Interstate 295 to Pennsylvania state line

Speed Limit: 55 mph

# of lanes Location
8 MD line to Exit 4A
10 Exit 4A to Exit 5
6 Exit 5 to Exit 6
4 Exit 6 to exit 7
6 Brandywine Creek Bridge
4 Exit 8 to exit I-495
6 I-495 to PA line

Interstate 95 History

The first section of Interstate 95 opened to traffic on November 15, 1963 as the Delaware Turnpike. The 11-mile tollway stretched between Maryland's Northeast Expressway eastward to the Delaware Memorial Bridge freeway (U.S. 40). Toll rates levied on passenger vehicles were set at 30 cents at the main line plaza.14 The Exit 1, 3, and 4 interchanges included tolls collected by coin drop basket on their associated exit ramps. A large toll plaza remains in place near the Maryland state line levying a $3.00 passenger car toll, $4.00 as of October 1, 2007, to all passenger vehicles between Exit 1 (Delaware 896) and Exit 109 (Maryland 279). The Turnpike was widened in the 1980s.

Ken Weaverling posted to misc.transport.road on 10/2/99:

Exits 1, 3, and 4 of I-95 in Delaware were tolled until 197614. Toll booths were situated at the off-ramps SB and on-ramps NB. Exit 1 was 15 cents, 3 and 4 were 10 cents. Ever since then, Delaware residents have been getting a free ride. (On some of the ramps you can still tell where the booths were. The ramp widens and straightens out at the area of the former toll booth.) The only reason I-95 in Delaware has a toll is because JFK and the Delaware Governor of the time didn't get along. Therefore the feds wouldn't pay for construction of 95 between exit 5 and MD state line. (Apparently a similar story for the stretch in Maryland). That is why 95 was allowed to have a toll in that area. Of course, the original highway bonds were paid off long ago. It's just one big cash cow for DelDOT now...

Tolls were removed from the Exit 1 (Delaware 896), Exit 3 (Delaware 273) and Exit 4 (Delaware 7) interchanges to alleviate the local area roads. Commuters were simply not using the Delaware Turnpike opting instead for local arterials such as U.S. 40 (Pulaski Highway) and Delaware 2 (Kirkwood Highway). The transition of Interstate 95 from a toll to free entity relieved the Newark and Wilmington area highways. DelDOT removed all of the ramp toll barriers by 19822

Very few signs remain alluding to Interstate 95 as the Delaware Turnpike. Asides for three trailblazers on sign bridges along Interstate 295 southbound and logos on the side of turnpike maintenance vehicles, the designation is almost purely relegated to road maps. A Delaware Turnpike and John F. Kennedy Memorial Highway pull-through panel did reside on Interstate 95 southbound at the Christiana Marsh however. That sign was removed by May 2007.

Interstate 95 southbound at the Delaware Turnpike (03-28-04)

Entering the Delaware Turnpike Toll Plaza on Interstate 95 south. The booths reside between the Pleasant Hill Road and Welsh Tract Road overpasses southwest of Newark. All passenger vehicles were levied a $3.00 toll with rates increasing by $1.00 on October 1, 2007. Photo taken March 28, 2004.

Exit numbers for the Delaware Interstate system utilize a sequential based system. The Delaware Turnpike constitutes the freeway between the state line and Exit 5. North of Exit 5 are the Exit 6 through 11 interchanges. There is however no Exit 2. The number was reserved for an interchange midway between Delaware 896 (Exit 1) and the Delaware Turnpike Service Plaza near Chapman Road. During the 1960s and through to the 1980s a north-south freeway was planned along the U.S. 301 corridor between Middletown and Newark. The limited access highway was to travel northward from the Summit Bridge to the Delaware Turnpike southeast of Newark at Exit 2. The road was dubbed the Pike Creek Freeway and from Interstate 95 it was to continue northward to Delaware 2 (Kirkwood Highway) and ultimately Delaware 7 (Limestone Road) by way of Linden Hill Road. Although cancelled for many years, DelDOT still owns several parcels of undeveloped land along that right-of-way. Additionally the project remained in the 2010 25 year plan1.

A directional cloverleaf interchange constitutes the junction between Interstate 95 and Delaware 273 (Christiana Road). The original diamond interchange saw expansion in the form of new directional ramps from Interstate 95 south to Delaware 273 east and Delaware 273 east to Interstate 95 north. Loop ramps provide the movements between the turnpike north to Christiana Road west and Delaware 273 west to Interstate 95 south. Drivers traveling through the interchange on Interstate 95 will notice space allocated under the overpasses on each side of the respective carriageway. It was thought several decades ago to convert the Delaware Turnpike into an express/local configuration similar to that of Interstate 270 in the state of Maryland. Before the 1976 expansion of the interchange, motorists destined for Interstate 95 northbound from Delaware 273 eastbound were relegated to making a left-hand turn onto the westbound on-ramp to the turnpike north. Just beyond where those two ramps merged was the location of the 10 cent toll barrier.3 A wide swath of pavement remains at that merge.

One mile east of the Exit 3 interchange is the Exit 4 cloverleaf interchange with Delaware 1 & 7. Until 1976 the junction between Delaware 7 (Stanton Christiana Road) and Interstate 95 consisted of a partial access interchange. Delaware Turnpike southbound motorists were afforded one off-ramp, the exit onto Churchmans Road westbound (now Delaware 58). From there drivers bound for Delaware 7 southbound would turn left onto Stanton Christiana Road from Churchmans Road north of the freeway. For Delaware 7 northbound motorists, access to the Delaware Turnpike included just the northbound on-ramp. Traffic destined for Interstate 95 southbound was instructed to use Delaware 273 west to the Exit 3 interchange. In the mid 1970s cloverleaf ramps were constructed for the Interstate 95 south to Delaware 7 southbound movement and Delaware 7 north to Interstate 95 southbound movement.1 The ramps interact with the Delaware Turnpike via a westbound collector/distributor roadway.

Interstate 95 northbound at the Christiana Marsh (03-23-04)

Interstate 95 northbound within the Christiana Marsh. The eight-lane section of freeway features over 157,000 vehicles per day. A $51.9 million expansion project widened Interstate 95 to ten overall lanes with 12 to 14 foot shoulders here between 2007-08. Photo taken March 23, 2004.

The Delaware Turnpike draws to a close at the Interstate 95 & 295 split at the Delaware 141 (Exit 5) interchange. The junction between Delaware 141 (Basin Road) and Interstate 95 consists of a large cloverleaf interchange. In the late 1970s Delaware 41 became Delaware 141 with the opening of the Newport Freeway between the Delaware Turnpike and Delaware 2 (Kirkwood Highway).

Increasing traffic demands led to a widening of the entire turnpike from four to six lanes in 1972 and eight lanes by the early 1980s. Further widening of Interstate 95 was completed between Delaware 1 & 7 and U.S. 202 & Delaware 141 by November 2008.14

North of the Interstate 295 partition is the wye interchange with Interstate 495. Opened in 1978, Interstate 495 provides a six-lane bypass of the city of Wilmington for Philadelphia and points north destined motorists. The southbound on-ramps to Interstate 95 include a connector ramp to the southbound auxiliary lane for U.S. 202 south & Delaware 141 (Exits 5A/B).

The Christina River and Interstate 95 straddle one another northward from Interstate 295 into the city of Wilmington. Six lanes of travel facilitate the freeway between Interstate 295 & 495 and the Exit 6 ramps for Delaware 4 (Maryland Avenue). Interstate 95 elevates onto a viaduct through south Wilmington between Beech Street and Fourth Street (Delaware 9). The elevated highway transitions into a depressed freeway at the fall line between Fourth and Sixth Streets. The original Delaware Avenue off-ramp departed the freeway between Sixth and Seventh Streets, temporarily ending the July 1966 completed Wilmington Expressway.14 North of there the four-lane highway continued through established neighborhoods in the West Side section of the city. The construction of the superhighway was not greeted with fanfare through this part of town, leaving a bitter taste in the mouths of many area residents and those displaced by the highway.

Central Wilmington Map - AARoads

Interstate 95 through the city of Wilmington.

From Seventh Street northward to Harvey Road (Exit 10), Interstate 95 carries four lanes of traffic. The Brandywine Creek Bridge, with initial construction commencing in August 1962,14 crosses high above the water and adjacent park between Shallcross Avenue and 18th Street. The six-lane span includes auxiliary lanes for the Exit 7 (Delaware 52) and Exit 8 (U.S. 202 & Delaware 202) interchanges. The six-mile stretch of freeway opened to traffic in 1963 as part of an northward extension to Harvey Road (Exit 10). Exit 10 northward to the Pennsylvania state line opened in 1968.14

Between 1979 and 1982, the Wilmington Viaduct of I-95 through the city of Wilmington underwent major reconstruction. The prolonged road work resulted in the temporary relocation of the Interstate 95 mainline onto Interstate 495 and the creation of the Interstate 895 designation on the original Interstate 95. In conjunction with the project was the Exit 7 northbound ramp relocation two blocks northward from Seventh to Ninth Streets. On December 7, 1984, the American Association of State Highway Officials (AASHO) approved the southward extension of U.S. 202 onto Interstate 95 and Delaware 141 (Basin Road).6 The US highway remains overlapped with Interstate 95 today, albeit in only a partially signed fashion.

Interstate 95 Guide

The Newark toll plaza of the Delaware Turnpike was expanded by four lanes in the 1990s. Additionally the EZ Pass system came to Delaware in 2000 with dedicated lanes at the plaza for account holders. Tolls for all passenger vehicles increased from $1.25 to $2.00 in 2000 as well, and increased again from $2.00 to $3.00 in Fall 2005 as part of DelDOT transportation secretary Nathan Hayward's hike to generate $63 million in funds.10 Toll again increase with the passing of the 2007 State Budget on October 1, 2007 to $4.00 per passenger vehicle.11 Previous toll increases occurred in 1991 when tolls jumped 25 cents from $1.00.

The Delaware Turnpike toll plaza is notorious for traffic congestion during holidays and other peak travel periods. It is not uncommon to find motorists backed up for two to three miles beyond the actual plaza itself during these periods. In May 2004 the state announced plans to reconstruction the plaza itself. The $60-million project involves the creation of four high-speed EZ Pass lanes through the middle of the plaza similar to those found on the SR 1 Turnpike plazas as Biddles Corner and Dover. It was reported that 40 percent of traffic that uses the Delaware Turnpike here are EZ Pass users. The project will see the demolition of the original 20 toll booth plaza for a new facility with 12 booths. A tunnel system will allow toll takers to walk underneath the roadway to their respective booths. DelDOT expects major delays associated with the one to two year project.7 Construction remains unscheduled pending funding in the 2008-2013 CTP.12

Additionally discussions arise involving the reinstitution of tolls at exits 1, 3, and 4. The state debated the idea of a potential public/private partnership in which private money would be used to help cover the costs of rebuilding these failing interchanges. The tolls in turn would benefit the private investors and compensate them for their expenditures. Although the proposal is preliminary at best, these exits were slated for reconstruction between 2005 and 2010.

Concept for improving the Exit 1 partial-cloverleaf interchange

The interchange between Interstate 95 and Delaware 896 constitutes a partial cloverleaf interchange. Loop ramps were added to the junction in the 1970s for Interstate 95 south to Delaware 896 south and Delaware 896 south to Interstate 95 north. Unfortunately the growth of the Delaware 896 and U.S. 301 corridors to the south between Glasgow and Middletown and the increasing popularity of U.S. 301 as a trucking corridor between Delaware and Washington have overwhelmed the current one-lane ramps. The weaving traffic concerns on Delaware 896 between the two loop ramps often result in serious delays during the peak morning and evening travel periods. To remedy this situation in our opinion, a new flyover should be constructed serving the Interstate 95 southbound movement to Delaware 896 south. The ramp would eliminate the weaving traffic effect on the Interstate 95 overpass and would allow for a high speed connection for trucks heading southbound toward U.S. 301. It is not uncommon to find the right-hand lane of Interstate 95 stacked with cars during the evening rush hours. The new sweeping ramp would eliminate the weaving.

Unfortunately the only improvements planned are the repaving of the existing ramps including the smoothing of the flat area from the former toll booths on the northbound on-ramp from Delaware 896 north to Interstate 95 and heightening the curb and retaining wall on one of the loop ramps. This project was underway between June and Fall 2007 according to DelDOT.

Exit 5 is unusual in that it involves four different roadways (Interstates 95, 295, 495 and U.S. 202 & Delaware 141). The interchange or "megachange" as we refer to it, encompasses a substantial amount of acreage. Traffic counts on all of the area roads overwhelm the interchange and improvements are necessary. The loop ramps between Delaware 141 and Interstate 95 northbound are but one of the safety concerns at the confluence. DelDOT has intended on an interchange reconstruction at the junction for years yet no work has began or is scheduled.

A 1999-2000 project saw the redecking of the Delaware 141 overpasses over Interstate 95 & 295 and the repaving of several of the associated ramps. The project coincided with a major resurfacing and resigning project of the Newport Freeway between 1997 and 1999.

Interstate 95 southbound at Interstate 295 & U.S. 202/Delaware 141 (03-27-04)

Southbound Interstate 95 at the confluence of Interstate 495, 295, and Delaware 141. Traffic merges from Interstate 495 and 295 on the left. To the right an overpass carries Interstate 495 motorists onto Interstate 95 via an auxiliary lane for Exits 5B/A. Interstate 95 maintains three lanes between the U.S. 202 south & Delaware 141 collector/distributor roadway split and the Interstate 295 merge. Photo taken March 27, 2004.

Interstate 95 through the city of Wilmington underwent a face lift in the early 2000s. All of the associated overpasses and bridgework were repainted and structurally repaired. The landscape of the depressed freeway between Adams and Jackson Streets underwent a drastic change between 2003 and 2004. All of the shrubbery was removed and new trees and grass were planted in its place. The bridge over the Brandywine River saw retrofitting with decorative lamps and a city of Wilmington cursive "W" was inscribed onto the sides of the bridge. The protective screens on the four lane viaduct through the Browntown section of the city were replaced with cream colored fences adorn with the cursive "W" for Wilmington. Otherwise DelDOT determined that an extensive rehabilitation of the freeway through the city can be postponed for several years. See The I-95 Reconstruction Guide from DelDOT for more details on the project and Walkabout Interstate 95 Wilmington for photographs of the freeway itself.

Interstate 95 Wilmington Map - AARoads

A closer look at the Interstate 95 corridor through the city of Wilmington.

In 2000 portions of Interstate 95 closed between Exit 8 and Interstate 495 through the Brandywine Hundred communities for a major resurfacing project. Contractors rubbilized the 1960s concrete to form a new road base. From there crews paved the freeway with new asphalt, repainted the associated bridges, and lowered the road to allow for additional clearance under the associated overpasses. During the project one direction of the freeway closed at a time for a three month period to allow crews uninhibited access to the road. The concept worked efficiently as crews finished the six month project three weeks ahead of time in October of 2000. See The I-95 Reconstruction Guide from DelDOT for more details on the project.

Interstate 95 Highway Guides

Interstate 95 Annual Average Daily Traffic (AADT)

Begin Milepost Location To: AADT Composite
0.00 MD state line Exit 1 DE 896 Newark Middletown 76,555
2.34 Exit 1 DE 896 Newark Middletown Exit 3 DE 273 Christiana Newark 120,634
6.63 Exit 3 Delaware 273 Christiana Newark Exit 4 Delaware 1 & 7 Dover Churchmans Crossing 199,677
7.89 Exit 4 Delaware 1 & 7 Dover Churchmans Crossing Exit 5C Interstate 295 north Del. Mem. Br. NJ-NY 164,476
10.56 Exit 5C Interstate 295 north Del. Mem. Br. NJ-NY Exit 5AB U.S. 202 & DE 141 Newport New Castle 132,041
11.03 Exit 5AB U.S. 202 & DE 141 Newport New Castle Exit 5D Interstate 495 north Philadelphia 131,428
12.65 Exit 5D Interstate 495 north Philadelphia south Wilmington city limits 84,584
14.53 south Wilmington city limits Exit 6 Delaware 4 Maryland Avenue 85,448
14.78 Exit 6 Delaware 4 Maryland Avenue Exit 6 DE 48 Lancaster Avenue 88,425
14.95 Exit 6 DE 48 Lancaster Avenue Exit 6 Delaware 9 4th Street 89,264
15.45 Exit 6 Delaware 9 4th Street Exit 7 DE 52 Delaware Avenue 89,327
15.68 Exit 7 DE 52 Delaware Avenue northwest Wilm. city limits 75,283
16.56 northwest Wilm. city limits Exit 8 U.S. 202 & Delaware 202 Concord Avenue/Pike 86,863
16.97 Exit 8 U.S. 202 & Delaware 202 Concord Avenue/Pike Exit 9 Delaware 3 Marsh Road 61,857
19.12 Exit 9 Delaware 3 Marsh Road Exit 10 Harvey Road 55,148
21.30 Exit 10 Harvey Road Exit 11 Delaware 92 Naamans Road 53,850
23.10 Exit 11 DE 92 Naamans Road PA state line (23.43) 113,689
Source: Traffic Summary 2002 (DelDOT)

Interstate 95 Planned Improvements

On December 2, 2003, DelDOT held a public workshop involving the planned improvements to Interstate 95. Much of the information below is courtesy of Ken Weaverling:4

  • Alternatives for rebuilding the Delaware Turnpike toll plaza:

    A new toll plaza will see $40 million to $50 million5 in construction to replace the one that is situated just east of the Welsh Tract Road overpass. The new toll plaza will serve four separate carriageways, each carrying two lanes of traffic. The inside carriageways will serve EZPass holders while the outside carriageways serve cash transactions. A barrier will be installed between the two roadways for a distance of about a mile on either side of the toll plaza. This aspect of the plan is to increase safety concerns by preventing accelerating traffic from cutting in front of full-speed traffic. Unfortunately, the installation of these barriers will prevent express travelers from accessing the Exit 1/Delaware 896 interchange at Newark and the Exit 109/Maryland 279 interchange in Cecil County.

    The toll plaza project sees three options involving the location of the new booths. The first option sees the new facility installed in the same location as the existing facility. A second option involves moving the toll operations westward toward the Maryland state line before the Otts Chapel Road overpass. The final alternative is to place the new toll barrier further west, beyond the Otts Chapel Road overpass adjacent to Dixie Line Road. The third option incurs the least amount of cost but also requires the cooperation of Maryland officials.5

    On Monday May 10, 2004, DelDOT conducted a second public workshop on the Interstate 95 projects. The winning alternative is a $60-million plan to reconstruct the existing plaza. Crews will replace the 20-booth plaza with a 12-booth plaza complete with four high-speed EZ Pass lanes. Construction is expected to take one to years to complete.7 As of July 2007, no time table has been given to this project.

  • Alternates for the Exit 4 interchange reconstruction:

    This $150 million to $180 million project5 will redesign the Delaware 1 & 7 interchange to improve traffic flow and reduce congestion. At stake is the creation of a new flyover ramp for Interstate 95 southbound to Delaware 1-7 southbound. The current configuration at this interchange sees traffic pile onto a single lane cloverleaf ramp at the northwest quadrant of the interchange. Under the proposal, a two lane flyover will facilitate traffic over Interstate 95 and Delaware 1 & 7, carrying traffic southward onto the Delaware 1 freeway beyond of the current Mall Road overpass. From there traffic will have the option to access the Christiana Mall Road or continue southward onto Delaware 1 & 7. The debate of this is whether or not to build a cheaper 50 MPH designed ramp (estimated cost of $70 million5) with a tighter curve radius or to construct a broader sweeping 60 MPH designed ramp (estimated cost of $80 million5). The aforementioned Mall Road overpass will have to be removed to accommodate the new flyover ramp.

    For Delaware 1 northbound, a major improvement is planned. The way it is now, Delaware 1 northbound traffic to Interstate 95 northbound is allocated a one-lane ramp just north of the Mall Road on-ramp. The one lane ramp is always overwhelmed during the afternoon and evening peak hours of traffic and is complicated by the fact that Mall Road traffic merges onto Delaware 1 & 7 just south of the Interstate 95 northbound ramp departure. To solve this dilemma, DelDOT proposes a drastic reconfiguration of Delaware 1 involving a local/express type configuration. Delaware 1 will split into a pair of two lane carriageways south of the Interstate 95 interchange. To the left two lanes will travel from Delaware 1 north onto Interstate 95 north, sweeping over a new c/d roadway of Interstate 95 northbound itself. To the right Delaware 1 & 7 will maintain two lanes northward to Churchman's Crossing. Included in the right-hand carriageway will be an on and off-ramp to the Christiana Mall area. Because of the on-ramp from Mall Road, a ramp to Interstate 95 northbound will also be provided from this carriageway.

    The May 10, 2004 DelDOT public workshop favors a $90-million reconstruction plan for the Delaware 1 & 7 interchange with Interstate 95. The three to four year project involves the creation of the high speed ramp between Interstate 95 south and Delaware 1 & 7 south and segregated ramps from Delaware 1 & 7 north and the Christiana Mall onto Interstate 95 north. The project requires the construction of at least seven new bridges at the junction that was thought to commence as early as 2006.7

    As of July 2007, no work has begun and costs have increased to $120 million. DelDOT funding woes have pushed the project back to Summer 2010 before funding should be available in 2011. Construction will take four years to complete and tie directly into the widening of Interstate 95 over Christiana Marsh. See DeldOT's SR1/I-95 Interchange project page for more details.

  • Potential Interstate 95 expansion:

    Interstate 95 over the Christiana Marsh between Exits 4 and 5 will see an expansion from eight to ten overall lanes. The aforementioned two lane ramp of Delaware 1 north to Interstate 95 north will create the fifth northbound lane. A new c/d roadway will serve Exit 4A/B interests on the northbound side of the freeway. Traffic merging from the local carriageway of Delaware 1 and the Christiana Mall will merge onto this roadway before the roadway overall returns to Interstate 95. At the Interstate 95/295 split, the roadway will expand from five to six lanes with three lanes allocated for both Interstates. The center lane will allow motorists access to both freeways. This aspect of construction is estimated to cost between $40 million to $50 million.5

    DelDOT announced in 2004 a $24.3-million plan to expand Interstate 95 from eight to ten overall lanes over the Christiana Marsh. Crews will expand the freeway outward with new travel lanes on the existing outside shoulders. Barriers will separate the work from the freeway mainline during the one to two year project allowing all lanes of Interstate 95 to remain open. New 12 to 14 foot shoulders are to be added to the freeway as well.7

    Construction began in June 2007 on the "5th-Lane Project" of Interstate 95 over Christiana Marsh. The low bid for the project is $52 million by contractor R.E. Pierson for a 544-day contract. See DeldOT's I-95 Mainline Widening project page for more details. As of December 2008, Interstate 95 now carries ten overall lanes between Exit 4A (Delaware 1 & 7 south) and the Interstate 295 split.

  • Churchman's Road overpass (Delaware 58):

    Construction of a new wider overpass for Delaware 58 (Churchman's Road) replaced the ailing original bridge over Interstate 95 at Exit 4B. Began in April 2005 and completed on December 8, 2006 at a cost of $13 million, the new span carries two lanes and a bicycle path.13 The bridge allows for the expansion of Interstate 95 below from eight to ten overall lanes.

The timetable for these projects were thought to range from three to nine years depending if the phases of roadwork are undertaken separately or all at once. Funding will originate from the Delaware Transportation Trust Fund that generates its revenue from gasoline taxes, tolls, and other transportation fees. It was hoped to commence with construction in June 2005 on these projects.5 $150 million was already set aside by DelDOT for the improvements in 2004.7 See our March 14, 2007 On The Road Post Augmenting Delaware's I-95 for additional commentary and insight on the Delaware Budget woes and how it relates to Interstate 95 and other project.

Wilmington Mayor James M. Baker presented several ideas for the city at an economic development conference on May 12, 2004. One of the visions described to the public is the concept of building a deck over Interstate 95 between Delaware Avenue (Delaware 52) and West Eighth Street. Included on the platform are plazas, parks, and a multi-use high-rise. The freeway cut a swath between the Cool Spring-Tilton Park and Trinity Vicinity neighborhoods 40 years ago. Decking over the suppressed freeway is an idea to unify the community and the two areas of the city. The long-term vision also includes the creation of an urban corridor between West Second Street and Lancaster Avenue (Delaware 48) with light rail and widened roadways, changes to the Christina River waterfront and the Seventh Street Peninsula, and a redevelopment of the area bounded by Eighth, Ninth, Madison, and West Streets.8 No news related to these proposals arose by July 2007.

New Wilmington Riverfront Ramps

A project originating in the mid 1990s saw resurrection with the passage of the Safe, Accountable, Flexible, Efficient Transportation Equity Act of 2005 - A Legacy for Users (SAFETEA-LU) federal highway bill in August 2005. Estimated to cost $75 million in 19959, the project to construct new ramps from Interstate 95 into south Wilmington and to redesign the local street grid to improve access to the growing Christina Riverfront gained $20 million in federal funding as provided by the 2005 SAFETA-LU. The 1995 plan endorsed by then Governor Tom Carper include the following items:9

  1. Building a three-ramp "X" interchange between the riverfront and Interstate 95.
  2. Developing a new northbound only exit roadway from the riverfront area from South Madison Street. Madison Street would become a one-way southbound street to coincide with the new road.
  3. A $3 million transit hub constructed adjacent to the Wilmington Train Station. (this element was completed by 2000)
  4. Extending Terminal Avenue (Delaware 9A) west to U.S. 13 across a new harbor.
  5. Construction of a new Christina River crossing to link South Madison and South Market (U.S. 13 Business) Streets.

The DelDOT Budget crisis tables all work on new Interstate 95 ramps into south Wilmington indefinitely as of July 2007.

Exit 8 Reconstruction

Crews are now at work on rebuilding the directional-cloverleaf interchange with U.S. 202 & Delaware 202 (Concord Pike) in north Wilmington. The interchange serves as a major congestion point for commuting movements between Interstate 95 through Wilmington and the Brandywine Hundred communities northward along Concord Pike. Additionally through traffic interests to Chester County, Pennsylvania use Interstate 95 and U.S. 202 at Exit 8. Elements of the project include:

  • Rebuilding the northbound directional ramp from Interstate 95 to U.S. 202 with two lanes and a full shoulder.
  • Removing the Exit 8A loop ramp from Interstate 95 south to Delaware 202 south and adding a connector ramp from the Exit 8B ramp to a left-hand turn onto Concord Pike south
  • Building a new smoother and wider ramp from U.S. 202 south onto Interstate 95 south in place of the former loop ramp.

Modification of the Interstate 95 northbound off-ramp to Delaware 202 south was completed in 2004-05. That added a traffic signal to Delaware 202 south for drivers destined for the left-hand turn onto Broom Street north from Concord Avenue nearby.

Interstate 95 Cancelled Proposals

During the late 1990s a proposal arose to redesignate Interstate 95 through the city of Wilmington as Business Loop Interstate 95 and Interstate 495 east of the city as the Interstate 95 mainline. It was thought that switching the designations would shift the bulk of through traffic currently using Interstate 95 onto the six-lane bypass. Concerns for traffic congestion related to the 2000 reconstruction of the freeway north of Wilmington added fuel to the concept. However Wilmington city leaders and local area politicians lobbied against the concept insisting that the Interstate 95 mainline remain near downtown rather than bypass it altogether. Nothing has ever come of the proposal and Interstate 95 and 495 remain in tact.

In 1992 Through Traffic and Local Traffic placards were installed on the Interstate 95 & 495 guide signs at the respective splits north and southbound. The 2000 reconstruction project included the placement of new guide signs on Interstate 95 northbound at Interstate 495 northbound. New panels no longer allude to the local and through traffic applications of the freeways. The PennDOT signs however still retain the placards.

Another proposal that briefly surfaced during January of 2000 was that of renumbering Interstate 95 in Wilmington as Interstate 195, and Interstate 495 as Interstate 95. New Castle County Council contended that the renumbering would further encourage through traffic to use the eastern bypass of Wilmington. The upcoming reconstruction and nearby road work at Blue Ball (U.S. 202, Delaware 141, and Delaware 261), the concept received some support. New Castle County Council also contended that the expansion of the Astra-Zeneca site at Blue Ball and the additional 1000+ jobs it created would cause traffic grid lock on Interstate 95. The expectations were exaggerated and Interstate 95 remains in place with no signs of an impending relocation in the near future.

Interstate 95 Delaware Other Highway Sites

Sources:

  1. Weaverling, Ken. "Re: DE I-95 Public Workshop." Online posting, misc.transport.road, November 26, 2003.
  2. Taber, John. "Re: DE I-95 Public Workshop." Online posting. misc.transport.road, November 26, 2003.
  3. Weaverling, Ken. "Re: DE I-95 Public Workshop." Online posting, misc.transport.road, November 25, 2003.
  4. Weaverling, Ken. "DelDOT i95 workshop report." Online posting, misc.transport.road, December 2, 2003.
  5. "I-95 plans unveiled." The News Journal (Wilmington, DE), December 3, 2003.
  6. U.S. 202 Maine to Delaware, Federal Highway Administration.
  7. "State decides on fix for I-95 traffic." The News Journal (Wilmington, DE), May 11, 2004.
  8. "Vision for Wilmington: Deck over I-95." The News Journal (Wilmington, DE), May 12, 2004.
  9. "Riverfront ramps face more hurdles." The News Journal (Wilmington, DE), July 1, 1995.
  10. "DelDOT to revisit slashed projects." The News Journal (Wilmington, DE), June 5, 2005.
  11. “State budget raises taxes, tolls and fees.” The News Journal (Wilmington, DE), June 21, 2007.
  12. I-95 Newark Toll Plaza, JFK Memorial Highway Improvement Program (DelDOT).
  13. “Churchmans Road bridge over I-95 completed.” The News Journal, December 8, 2006.
  14. "I-95 in Delaware linked East Coast, divided city of Wilmington." The News Journal (Wilmington, DE), November 14, 2013.

Page Updated December 25, 2008.

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