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Delaware 141


Looking north at the Newport Freeway from Burnside Boulevard. Photo taken June 2000.

Delaware 141 encircles the city of Wilmington between New Castle and Fairfax, partially as a limited access highway through Newport and Greenville. Commissioned in 1952, the state route mostly acts as a commuter route between New Castle, Newport, Prices Corner, Greenville and Fairfax. The majority of SR 141 accommodates four lanes with some access control.

Delaware 141 Highway Guides

Beginning at the junction of Delaware 9 & 273 in New Castle, Delaware 141 follows Basin Road, a four-lane arterial, northward to an antiquated cloverleaf interchange with U.S. 13 & 40 (Dupont Highway). Exit ramps to Dupont Highway are assigned as Exits 1A/B, despite Basin Road traveling at-grade in both directions.

U.S. 202 begins an eight-state route at the SR 141 (Basin Road) exchange with U.S. 13 & 40. The US Highway was realigned from an end in Wilmington and extended south along I-95 and SR 141 in 1984, though signs are inconsistent and the designation is mostly ignored by locals, traffic reports, etc. U.S. 202 overlaps with SR 141 for 1.6 miles between Dupont Highway and Interstate 95 (Exit 3A).

Basin Road separates New Castle County Airport (ILG) and the community of Wilmington Manor northward to Delaware 37 (Commons Boulevard). This stretch was reconfigured by winter 2005 with the closure of the Delaware and Pennsylvania Avenue intersections with Basin Road and the addition of a U-turn at a new intersection with Washington Avenue. Previously Delaware and Washington Avenues provided the connection from SR 141 north to Dupont Highway south.

Additional work on Basin Road included the rehabilitation of the overpass above U.S. 13 & 40 and a variety of changes northward to Jay Drive. Improvements included repaving the original concrete roadway with asphalt, sidewalk construction, traffic signal timing adjustments and other safety improvements. An acceleration lane was also added for the ramp carrying drivers from Dupont Highway south to Basin Road north in place of the previous Delaware Avenue turn off (former Exit 1B). All related work was slated for completion by August 2004.1

North of Delaware 37 and the Corporate Commons business park, the carriageways of Delaware 141 diverge ahead of Nonesuch Creek and Airport Road west. The state route transitions into a limited access highway through a large cloverleaf interchange with Interstates 95, 295 and 495. Ramps are assigned as Exit 2 for I-295 north and Exits 3A/B for I-95 and 495.

The Delaware 141 overpasses across Interstates 95 and 295, and several of the ramps at their exchange, were rehabilitated between 2000 and 2001. Construction underway between winter 2016 and winter 2018 redesigns a portion of the cloverleaf interchange while adding a new ramp from Basin Road north to I-295 north and realigning the I-295 southbound ramp to the Newport Freeway northbound.

Constructed between 1971 and 1979, the Newport Freeway bisects the town of Newport along a combination of viaduct and below-grade roadway. Built to relieve congestion along Newport Gap Pike (old SR 41), plans for the limited access freeway originated in 1961.2 Accommodating four lanes of traffic, with auxiliary lanes between on and off-ramps, the freeway leads SR 141 north to a directional cloverleaf interchange with Delaware 2 (Kirkwood Highway) at Prices Corner.

1972 map of New Castle County showing the interchange between Delaware 2 (Kirkwood Highway) and 141.

Beyond Prices Corner, Delaware 141 downgrades into a boulevard along Centre Road between several older subdivisions and apartments. Speed limits reduce to 35 miles per hour. The state route north to Delaware 34 (Faulkland Road) was rebuilt from an undivided arterial with narrow lanes and adjacent frontage roads into a divided roadway with 12 foot travel lanes and 11 foot wide shoulders. Work ran through November 9, 2010 and included property acquisition on the east side to accommodate the realignment of local roads and the addition of a multi-use path.

SR 141 north from Prices Corner to Greenville was formerly proposed for upgrades to limited access standards. A visible remnant from the canceled plan was a concrete stub at the north end of the collector distributor roadway for SR 2 (Exits 6A/B). This was eventually incorporated into the rebuilding of Centre Road.

SR 141 (Centre Road) passes west from the Dupont corporate campus as a controlled access arterial between Faulkland Road and Barley Mill Road. Access to the four-lane highway is limited to two signalized intersections and the junction with SR 48 and 100 (Lancaster Pike).

Northeast from Lancaster Pike, SR 100 accompanies SR 141 through to Montchanin Road. The overlap includes a 0.9 mile limited access segment punctuated by a parclo interchange with SR 52 (Kennett Pike). The freeway portion ends just east of SR 52, where SR 100 turns north to Montchanin.

Traveling east from Delaware 100 (Montchanin Road), Delaware 141 (Barley Mill Road) quickly downgrades to two lanes ahead of Tyler McConnell Bridge across Brandywine Creek. Opened in December 1952, the two-lane span ties into the intersection of Powder Mill Road, Rising Sun Lane and an access road to the Dupont Experimental Station. The state route turns north from here along Powder Mill Road, lining a bluff above adjacent Brandywine Creek.

Delaware 141 upgrades again into a controlled access expressway from the Dupont Experimental Station east to the intersection of Childrens Drive and Powder Mill Road. The state route curves southward by the AstraZenica corporate campus to end opposite Delaware 261 (Foulk Road) at a grade separated intersection with U.S. 202 (Concord Pike).

The easternmost extent of SR 141 was slowly upgraded through a series of projects. Constructed first was an underpass built for Rockland Road. Completed in 1998, it coincided with the opening of a new access road (Childrens Drive) from SR 141 west to Rockland Road and Dupont Childrens Hospital. Subsequent work realigned SR 141 (Powder Mill Road) southward to accommodate the new AstraZenica campus. That stretch was decommissioned in 2007 with construction of SR 141 Spur, a new four-lane roadway built in conjunction with the Blue Ball construction projects.

Unconstructed Delaware 141 Freeway

The Newport Freeway, and the short stretch of limited access highway along SR 141 at Greenville, were two portions built for the planned beltway between I-95 near Newport and U.S. 202 at north Wilmington. The freeway was incorporated in the 2010 transportation plan for New Castle County issued in 1990, and still in formal plans by 1992. Interchanges planned for the route included exchanges with Delaware 48 (Lancaster Pike), Delaware 100 (Montchanin Road), Alapocas Road and U.S. 202 (Concord Pike). Additionally upgrades were slated for the cloverleaf interchange joining Interstate 95 and U.S. 202, and Concord Pike north to Blue Ball and Fairfax.

The Newport Freeway ends one mile north of the Boxwood Road (SR 62) overpass at Prices Corner. Photo taken June 2000.

With five of the state's seven largest employers situated along the Delaware 141 corridor, plans were unveiled in 1992 for several upgrades along the state route. DelDOT chief design engineer C. David Jamison commented that the department was committed to upgrading the SR 141 corridor in an effort to offset the build-up of traffic on local area side roads and outer roads in northern New Castle County. Details of the $100 million plus freeway plan with tentative contract award dates:5

  • Widen SR 141 between Rockland Road and U.S. 202 at Old Murphy Road (late 1992) - $10 million
  • Construct a new twin bridge over Brandywine Creek (late 1993) - $20 million
  • Reconstruct and build new interchanges along SR 141 between SR 52 (Kennett Pike) and Alapocas Road (late 1994) - $14 million
  • Reconstruct SR 141 between SR 2 (Kirkwood Highway) and Wagoner Drive (late 1996) - $6 million
  • Reconstruct SR 141 between Wagoner Drive to a point south of SR 48 (Lancaster Pike) (late 1997) - $17 million
  • Construct new Alapocas Drive interchange (late 1997) - $13 million
  • Build a new interchange for SR 141 at the junction with Interstate 95 and U.S. 202 at Blue Ball (1999) - $35 million plus
  • Construct new SR 48 / 100 (Lancaster Pike) interchange (after 1999) - $15 million
  • Upgrade the interchange between Interstate 95 and U.S. 202 / SR 141, south of Newport, as part of a widening project (after 1999) - $66 million

Replacement of the two-lane Tyler McConnell Bridge called for a six-lane bridge positioned 25 feet higher than its predecessor. This garnered vehement opposition, with critics citing that the new span would harm the rustic nature of the Brandywine valley and effect the nearby historic Hagley Museum. Planners were asked to reduce the span initially, and then to instead upgrade the existing bridge. Community opposition also arose against the remainder of the SR 141 freeway plan, eventually leading to its cancellation. However some elements of the original plan were incorporated into later upgrades along the state route, such as the Rockland Road underpass near Fairfax.

The Centre Road portion of the SR 141 upgrade was cost prohibitive due to property acquisition needs and adjacent dense development between SR 2 (Kirkwood Highway) and SR 34 (Faulkland Road). A subsequent improvement plan called for a more subtle expansion of Center Road, with the addition of a continuous center turn lane. The stretch was eventually expanded with a narrow median and shoulders.

Tyler McConnell Bridge

The Tyler McConnell Bridge spans Brandywine Creek over a deep valley between Montchanin Road (SR 100 north) and Powder Mill Road north of Wilmington. Consisting of 12 spans, the 816 foot long bridge supports a 33 foot wide deck.4 The crossing represents the lone two-lane segment of SR 141.

Crossing the Tyler McConnell Bridge along Delaware 141 southbound. Photo taken 12/20/16.

Plans for the Tyler McConnell Bridge originated in 1948 when the DuPont Company announced the location for its experimental station along the banks of the Brandywine Creek. Dupont contributed $250,000 toward construction of the new bridge in an effort to enhance access to the site. Two design types were considered for the crossing, a steel arch bridge and a metal-girder bridge.4

With the more economical metal-girder bridge design selected, construction got underway in February 1951. Opened to traffic in December 1952, the Brandywine Creek bridge was dedicated in April 1953 after a former member of the Delaware State Highway Commission, J.H. Tyler McConnell. The span featured some of the earliest uses of reinforced concrete hammerhead pier supports, a popular design used throughout the world today.4

Prolonged traffic congestion associated with the Tyler McConnell Bridge continued to fuel discussion for either replacing it or adding a second span. Proposals under consideration in 2003 included an option to add a companion metal-girder bridge alongside the current span. Replacement designs varied from building two new variable depth concrete-girder bridges, or a single four-lane elliptical arch bridge. Bridge aesthetics factored heavily in these options in an effort to maintain the historic character of the Brandywine valley.

A fifth option arose following input from public workshops and feedback received regarding the previous alternatives. It called for a four-lane multiple parabolic bridge design in place of the existing span. Cost estimates for the alternatives at the time ranged from $26 million for the companion bridge concept, and $40 million for the multiple arch bridge.3 The intervening years revealed no progress on plans for either expansion or replacement of the Tyler McConnell Bridge.

Delaware 141 - 2015 Annual Average Daily Traffic (AADT)

  • 15,385 - SR 273 (Chestnut Street) to University Avenue
  • 39,087 - U.S. 13-40 (Dupont Highway) to SR 37 (Commons Boulevard)
  • 67,585 - I-95 (Exit 3) to SR 4 / Newport (Exit 4)
  • 46,539 - SR 62 (Exit 5) to SR 2 (Exit 6)
  • 33,012 - SR 2 (Exit 6) to Road 330
  • 39,344 - SR 34 (Faulkland Road) to SR 48 / 100 (Lancaster Pike)
  • 43,611 - Barley Mill Plaza to SR 52 (Kennett Pike)
  • 26,070 - Rising Sun Lane to Alapocas Drive
  • 20,484 - Childrens Drive to U.S. 202 (Concord Pike)
Delaware 141 scenes
Newport Gap Pike continues southward as a one-way street from Delaware 62 (Boxwood Road) to form a west side frontage road for the Newport Freeway. The trailblazer for Delaware 141 here is still missing an arrow as of 2016. Photo taken 01/01/05.
Centre Road doubles as the southbound off-ramp from Delaware 141 to Delaware 2 (Kirkwood Highway). Photo taken 12/22/16.
A direct ramp connects the Centre Road ramp with Kirkwood Highway west to Newark. Photo taken 12/22/16.
Delaware 2 trailblazer posted on Centre Road west at Centerville and Greenbank Roads in Prices Corner. Greenbank Road leads drivers west to Albertson Boulevard to complete the movement to Delaware 2 (Kirkwood Highway) east to Elsmere. Photo taken 08/03/13.
New Bridge Road climbs from the historic Rising Sun Bridge across Brandywine Creek to intersect Delaware 141 at the Dupont Experimental Station. Photo taken 08/03/13.
New Bridge Road connects north Wilmington with SR 141 (Powder Mill Road) north to Fairfax. Turns to SR 141 south were restricted here by 2004. Photo taken 08/03/13.

Sources:

  • Widen SR 141 between Rockland Road and U.S. 202 at Old Murphy Road (late 1992) - $10 million
  • Construct a new twin bridge over Brandywine Creek (late 1993) - $20 million
  • Reconstruct and build new interchanges along SR 141 between SR 52 (Kennett Pike) and Alapocas Road (late 1994) - $14 million
  • Reconstruct SR 141 between SR 2 (Kirkwood Highway) and Wagoner Drive (late 1996) - $6 million
  • Reconstruct SR 141 between Wagoner Drive to a point south of SR 48 (Lancaster Pike) (late 1997) - $17 million
  • Construct new Alapocas Drive interchange (late 1997) - $13 million
  • Build a new interchange for SR 141 at the junction with Interstate 95 and U.S. 202 at Blue Ball (1999) - $35 million plus
  • Construct new SR 48 / 100 (Lancaster Pike) interchange (after 1999) - $15 million
  • Upgrade the interchange between Interstate 95 and U.S. 202 / SR 141, south of Newport, as part of a widening project (after 1999) - $66 million


Photo Credits:

  • 2005-01-01 by AARoads.
  • 2013-08-03 by AARoads and Steve Alpert.
  • 2016-12-22 by AARoads.

Connect with:
Interstate 95
Interstate 295
U.S. Highway 13
U.S. Highway 40
U.S. Highway 202
Delaware 2
Delaware 4
Delaware 48
Delaware 9
Delaware 34
Delaware 37
Delaware 62
Delaware 100
Delaware 261

Page Updated 03-21-2017.

© AARoads