Deputy Federal Highway Administrator Greg Nadeau joined Delaware Gov. Jack Markell and other federal and state officials near the Delaware/Maryland state line Friday, May 14, to break ground on the $45.1 million Newark Toll Plaza Improvement Project on Interstate 95.
“Major Recovery Act funded projects like this one are continuing to get under way across the country, supporting even more jobs and economic growth,” said Vice President Joe Biden. “By putting people to work, reducing traffic congestion, improving air quality and saving time for a half-million drivers each week, this project will provide Delaware with a boost today while improving its transportation system for the long-term.”
“Fifteen months into the Recovery Act, projects are still getting under way, putting people back to work and helping to get our economy rolling again,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood. “There are orange barrels up across the country, and I’ve seen firsthand the difference it has made to workers and their families.”
The project will reconfigure the toll plaza on I-95 to accommodate new highway-speed E-ZPass lanes in the northbound and southbound directions. When completed next summer, the new toll plaza will reduce traffic congestion significantly for the estimated 110,000 daily drivers it serves. According to contractor estimates, this project will employ 313 workers at its peak.
The toll plaza currently has 20 toll booths, 10 in each direction – a mix of cash/
E-ZPass and E-ZPass-only. The existing five northbound toll booths at the main toll plaza will be replaced with two highway speed E-ZPass lanes, and the existing northbound satellite toll booths will be expanded from five to seven cash/E-ZPass toll booths.
The southbound plaza will be converted from 10 lanes with toll booths to seven cash/E-ZPass toll booths and two highway speed E-ZPass lanes. The state will install pavement markings and updated highway lighting in addition to full-width right and left shoulders for both the north and southbound directions.
“The age of waiting in line at this toll plaza is nearly over,” Nadeau said. “When it is finished next year, this new plaza will improve safety for drivers, help the region’s economy and preserve one of the nation’s most historic highways.”