I-95 Newark Toll Plaza officially rededicated

The I-95 Newark Toll Plaza has been officially rededicated commemorating the completion of the toll plaza’s reconstruction, and the establishment of Highway-Speed E-ZPass Lanes. Hosted by Delaware Transportation Secretary Shailen Bhatt, speakers included Gov. Jack Markell, U.S. Senators Tom Carper and Christopher Coons, U.S. Congressman John Carney, and Federal Highway Administrator Victor Mendez.

This $32 million project was fully funded through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA), and was awarded to the Delaware-based A-Del Construction Company of Newark, who was able to beat the projected 479 calendar day contract by over a month. Working around the clock, with the combined dedication and hard-work of the I-95 Toll Plaza personnel, E-ZPass provider, Transcore, and E-ZPass software developer, Control Technologies Inc., A-Del was able to achieve their goal by having the plaza open and fully functional for the Independence Day holiday weekend.

“Delaware has become considerably more popular with out-of-state visitors and commuters since these lanes opened. I’ve heard from people up and down the east coast expressing thanks that our state made this a transportation priority,” said Markell. “Motorists and truckers depend on being able to move themselves, their commerce and their families through and to Delaware. We must continue to build the roads, bridges and infrastructure improvements that move us forward.”

Expanding on Markell’s comments, DelDOT Secretary Shailen Bhatt explained, “Interstate 95 is much more than a local road in Delaware, or a regional roadway in the northeast. It is a vital part of a transportation network that gives our nation a competitive advantage. Today, our businesses and citizens are competing in a global marketplace. We need to make sure we are making the strategic investments to keep the arteries of our economy flowing smoothly.”

The Toll Plaza Reconstruction Project included the following:
1. Construction of highway-speed E-ZPass lanes: two lanes in each direction with full-width right and left shoulders
2. Widening of the approach to northbound cash plaza to create more vehicle storage and improve usage of all plaza lanes
3. Expansion of northbound cash plaza to seven lanes
4. Construction of a reinforced concrete slab over the existing toll collector access tunnel
5. Construction of two stormwater management facilities

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“Today is what the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act is all about,” said U.S. Senator Tom Carper. “For years, I-95 traffic congestion in Delaware has slowed down travelers, wasted precious gasoline, and increased harmful air pollution. Needless to say that wasn’t the first impression that we wanted travelers through Delaware to come away with. The new highway-speed E-ZPass lanes will address these concerns and create a far more positive experience for those who drive on I-95.

“Funded entirely by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, this much needed upgrade to the Newark Toll Plaza will reduce delays, vehicle emissions, wasted gas and perhaps most importantly – traveler frustration,” Carper continued. “That is just the kind of ‘win-win’ for Delaware I envisioned when I supported the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.”

Some of the benefits resulting from the project include the following:
1. Installation of new roadway signage and pavement markings
2. Upgrades to the lighting systems
3. The employment of 300 construction-related positions
4. Reduction of fuel consumption and greenhouse gas emissions by reducing congestion
5. Improvement of mobility for interstate truck traffic
6. Significantly reducing backups at the toll plaza without substantial widening or environmental impacts
7. Reducing of queues and sudden lane changes, thus improving the safety of the traveling public.
8. Toll worker safety has been addressed by creating an overhead passageway, new crash attenuators, and equipment maintenance gantry

With nearly 60 percent of the 80,000-110,000 vehicles a day transiting the Newark Toll Plaza traffic delays will be significantly reduced. A toll collector is able to process about 250-300 transactions per hour while the highway-speed E-ZPass lanes can easily process more than 2,000.

“I’m excited that tens of thousands of travelers a day will now have an easier trip to and through Delaware,” said Congressman John Carney. “The renovation of the Newark Toll Plaza is an investment that will help commerce along the I-95 corridor, lower vehicle emissions, and reduce traffic congestion. We must continue to make these investments in roads and other infrastructure that will allow the U.S. to compete globally and strengthen the economy well into the future.”

Details and updates regarding the project can be found on DelDOT’s I-95 Web site, www.i95.deldot.gov, which offers a one stop shop of information concerning all projects along the I-95 Corridor in Delaware.