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U.S. Department of Transportation, Office of Public Affairs, Washington, D.C., www.dot.gov/affairs/briefing.htm - News

FHWA 11-10
Friday, May 14, 2010
Contact: Doug Hecox
Tel: 202-366-0660

Federal and State Officials Break Ground On Delaware's Largest Recovery Act Project
Toll Plaza on I-95 to Improve Safety, Ease Congestion

WASHINGTON - Deputy Federal Highway Administrator Greg Nadeau joined Gov. Jack Markell and other federal and state officials near the Delaware/Maryland state line today to break ground on the $45.1 million Newark Toll Plaza Improvement Project on I-95.

"Major Recovery Act funded projects like this one are continuing to get underway 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 underway, putting people back to work and helping to get our economy rolling again," said U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood. "Thanks to the Obama Administration, 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 significantly reduce traffic congestion 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," said Federal Highway Deputy Administrator Greg Nadeau. "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."

Of the $26.6 billion in FHWA ARRA funds available nationwide, Delaware's share is more than $122 million. To date, the state has obligated $115 million toward 33 roads and bridges projects, with 30 underway.

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