At a ceremony today, Delaware Department of Transportation (DelDOT) Secretary Shailen Bhatt announced the completion of the Market Street Safety Improvement project. The two year project which began in September 2010, was completed on time and within the budgeted amount of $4,430,089, by Mumford and Miller Concrete of Middletown. It was fully funded under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA). In addition to Secretary Bhatt, speakers included Governor Jack Markell, U.S. Senators Thomas Carper and Christopher Coons, a representative from U.S. Congressman Carney's office, Wilmington Mayor James Baker and ShopRite owner Chris Kenny.
"This road improvement project, funded with federal dollars through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, will not only make driving in and out of Wilmington safer for the thousands of motorists who use this road each day, but it will also support much needed construction jobs and increase the economic viability of this section of Wilmington," said U.S. Sen. Tom Carper. "Improving our country's infrastructure by bringing the existing system to a state of good repair and by creating a more advanced system that better meets today's needs improves public safety, facilitates economic commerce, and serves a good public purpose. This is what the Recovery Act was all about."
The major component of the project was to elevate Market Street out of the floodplain. Other improvements included the undergrounding of utilities, landscaping with street trees, sidewalks and lighting, providing for a pedestrian-friendly environment, and better connections to adjacent neighborhoods. A new bus shelter and stop has been added to serve the public at the adjacent Christina Crossing Shopping Center. Another benefit to the 16,000 motorists that use this stretch of Market Street on a daily basis is raising of the roadway allows the continued flow of traffic during most rain events. In the past, the flooded roadway caused traffic flow to stop, creating a safety hazard to the travelling public.
"This construction put people to work rebuilding the area and will help people get to work for years to come," Governor Jack Markell said. "The work shows the value of cooperation, including federal help to make a local difference in our state's largest city."
DelDOT Secretary Bhatt stated, "This project is what the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act is all about; putting Delawareans to work, while stimulating growth, fostering the local economy, and addressing the transportation needs of the City of Wilmington and the State of Delaware. This project not only elevated the roadway out of the ten-year floodplain, it also improved the general surroundings by relocating utilities underground, eliminating the utility poles and wiring, added curbing, sidewalks and landscaping. Therefore, not only have we reduced the impact flooding has on residents and businesses, we have transformed this major artery exiting Wilmington into a more welcoming environment for business growth and created better access to pedestrian and transit facilities."
The improvements will also help support economic development opportunities for the City and State on the east bank of the Christina River. Wilmington Mayor James M. Baker added, "The raising of the road bed along South Market Street is important for a variety of reasons, but especially because of what it means for the future orderly and organized development of this area of the City. The formerly depressed roadway was emblematic of the flooding concerns that have hindered meaningful development of the South Market Street area for many years. We are very grateful for the assistance on this project from the Governor and DelDOT, and we take this time to express our appreciation for the countless other projects for which the State has helped Wilmington to grow and prosper."
The Market Street Safety Improvement project is one of the final DelDOT projects to be completed from the original ARRA-funded projects.
Details and updates regarding the project can be found on DelDOT's I-95 Web site, i95.deldot.gov, which offers a one stop shop of information concerning all projects along the I-95 Corridor in Delaware.