State un­veils I-95 project

DelDOT plan­ning work on Del. 896 in­ter­change

Newark Post - - FRONT PAGE - By JOSH SHAN­NON jshan­non@ches­pub.com

The Delaware Depart­ment of Trans­porta­tion is study­ing sev­eral op­tions for re­design­ing the In­ter­state 95 and Del. 896 in­ter­change in Newark.

The busy in­ter­change has seen 400 crashes in the last four years, project man­ager Bre­anna Kovach said.

“We have an im­me­di­ate safety need, and in the fu­ture, vol­umes are go­ing to in­crease,” Kovach said. “We need to fix it.”

One of the main is­sues, she said, is that driv­ers leav­ing I-95 merge onto Del. 896 in close prox­im­ity to where other driv­ers are leav­ing Del. 896 to merge onto the in­ter­state, re­sult­ing in a weav­ing ef­fect that can cause col­li­sions.

On I-95, the merge lanes are too short, and some of the en­trance ramps have sharp curves that can lead to crashes, such as ear­lier this month when a trac­tor-trailer haul­ing pro­duce over­turned on the ramp to north­bound I-95, shut­ting down the ramp for sev­eral hours.

Last week, DelDOT held a pub­lic meet­ing at Glas­gow High School to ex­hibit three al­ter­na­tives for im­prov­ing the in­ter­change. The agency is seek­ing com­ments from res­i­dents to help it nar­row down the ideas to a pre­ferred so­lu­tion.

The project is es­ti­mated to cost be­tween $124 mil­lion and $141 mil­lion. Each of the pro­pos­als would im­prove the in­ter­change, but the more ex­pen­sive op­tion of­fers the most im­prove­ment, Kovach said.

“We’ve got good, bet­ter and best, that’s how I de­scribe it,” she said.

The most ex­pen­sive op­tion in­volves build­ing a dou­ble fly­over – new ramps from south­bound Del. 896 to north­bound I-95 and from south­bound I-95 to south­bound Del. 896. The fly­overs would in­crease the dis­tance be­tween exit and en­trance ramps, re­duc­ing the traf­fic weav­ing.

The mid-range op­tion in­cludes a sin­gle fly­over, from south­bound I-95 to south­bound Del. 896.

The cheap­est de­sign is a mod­i­fied ver­sion of the di­verg­ing di­a­mond in­ter­change, sim­i­lar to what DelDOT re­cently in­stalled at Del. 72 and Del 1.

In a DDI, traf­fic briefly drives on the left side of the road to al­low left turn move­ments to oc­cur with­out cross­ing on­com­ing traf­fic or stop­ping. A DDI has fewer con­flict points, re­duc­ing the op­por­tu­ni­ties for crashes, and there is greater ca­pac­ity for vehicles at the in­ter­change.

In­stalling a DDI at I-95/Del. 896 would re­quire three new traf­fic sig­nals to con­trol traf­fic move­ment.

All three con­cepts in­clude ex­tend­ing some of the merge lanes onto the in­ter­state. The sec­ond and third ideas would ex­pand the foot­print of the in­ter­change, re­sult­ing in the loss of a small por­tion of Iron Hill Park.

DelDOT is ac­cept­ing pub­lic com­ments for the next month and will an­nounce its pre­ferred de­sign in the spring.

Con­struc­tion could be­gin as early as the sum­mer of 2022 and will take nearly three years to com­plete, Kovach said.

For more in­for­ma­tion, visit https://deldot.gov/in­for­ma­tion/ projects/i95/i95_sr896/in­dex. shtml.

NEWARK POST PHOTO BY JOSH SHAN­NON

A DelDOT rep­re­sen­ta­tive de­scribes plans to up­grade the I-95/Del. 896 in­ter­change dur­ing a pub­lic meet­ing at Glas­gow High School.

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