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