This should be the last August motorists will experience the massive construction project on the portion of I-95 that cuts through Wilmington.
The nearly $200 million project, dubbed “Restore the Corridor,” is on budget and on schedule to wrap up next year, according to Delaware Department of Transportation officials.
“We currently expect major construction to be completed in early 2023 with traffic restored to its original alignment at that time,” Charles “CR” McLeod, a DelDOT spokesman. “We are planning for a September public meeting to provide an update on the project and activity that will be taking place through the end of the year.”
The project began in early 2021, impacting businesses, nearby residents and drivers using the nearly 3-miles of roadway that is being refurbished. Had the repairs not taken place, it would have been more costly later on.
When all is said and done, the project will get what DelDOT engineers have said is needed maintenance to the skeletal structures of the interstate’s mile-long viaduct that cuts through Wilmington and the numerous bridges that make up the 58-year-old artery. Construction crews will also have repaved the entire segment of highway between the Christina and Brandywine rivers, repair overpasses, replace signs and install new guardrails, among other tasks.
There will also be safety improvements.
“DelDOT is very pleased with the project to date,” McLeod said.
The change in traffic patterns, which included closing lanes and exits for months, did come with an increase in collisions. This includes a crash that killed a 25-year-old Wilmington Manor firefighter helping a crash victim.
Background:Wilmington Manor firefighter killed while trying to help driver after crash on I-95
So after a nearly 50% increase in crashes from 2019, transportation officials started an electronic speed monitoring program in the construction zone.
“This pilot Electronic Speed Safety Program (ESSP) has resulted in significant reductions in crashes, and in particular, injury crashes,” McLeod said. “In the first 4.5 months following the deployment of the ESSP, 95 total work zone crashes were reported, including 16 crashes resulting in personal injury.
Speed cameras:Why you may now get mailed a ticket for speeding in the Wilmington I-95 construction zone
“During the same timeframe in 2021, 209 total work zone crashes were reported, including 32 crashes resulting in personal injury. The ‘after’ crash data reflects a 55% reduction in total crashes and a 50% reduction in injury crashes.”
In addition, McLeod said since the deployment of the cameras, the average daily speed in the work zone has decreased. Southbound has seen a 12.1% reduction in speed, while northbound has seen an 8.9% reduction to date.
The electronic speed safety devices began operating on Jan. 17, issuing warnings only. But as of April 17, first violations were still issued a warning and subsequent violations were issued citations.
Since the program began, 45,959 warnings have been issued for speeding in the work zone between Jan. 17 and July 28.
“During the citation period which began on April 17, 2022 and is ongoing, 3,682 notices of civil violations have been issued to date for speeding in the work zone,” he said. “Currently this area of I-95 has 38,000 average trips daily.”
Contact Esteban Parra at (302) 324-2299, email@example.com or Twitter @eparra3.