SOUTH BOWERS, Del. – Delaware will advance major planned projects, make road systems more resilient to climate change and apply for funding to serve traditionally disadvantaged areas using significant new federal funds for transportation over the next several years.
The federal Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (BIL) — championed by U.S. Senator Tom Carper, U.S. Senator Chris Coons, and U.S. Congresswoman Lisa Blunt Rochester and signed by President Joe Biden in November 2021 — is a once-in-a-generation commitment to improving roads, bridges, transit, water and wastewater systems, broadband, energy and other infrastructure areas.
Transportation is the largest area of new investment in the BIL. In a visit to South Bowers Beach Wednesday, Governor Carney and Delaware Department of Transportation Secretary Nicole Majeski highlighted some of the first decisions on construction and improvements to Delaware’s road network using the funding, which will stretch for the next five years.
A portion of South Bowers Road will be raised up to 5 inches to protect it from both tidal and storm. The previously planned project is an example of the types of projects DelDOT will be able to do with $48.5 million over five years from the BIL for at-risk coastal infrastructure. DelDOT’s new Division of Resiliency and Sustainability will develop a prioritization process for other projects over the next several years.
“Delawareans will travel easier on major routes and have increased confidence in the roads they need to use every day and in emergencies with the projects DelDOT can now accomplish with this funding,” said Governor Carney. “In addition, we will apply for extra federal funding for improvements in New Castle and Laurel that would make a significant difference in the lives of residents in those areas.”
Among the projects the Department will be advancing with other BIL funds:
The planned widening of Route 1 between the Christiana Mall and Route 40
Improvements to Kenton Road in west Dover between Route 8 and Chestnut Grove Road
Long-planned construction of an overpass taking Route 9 traffic over U.S. 113 in Georgetown
The next phase of the Georgetown to Lewes Trail from Fisher Road to Airport Road
The Infrastructure Law is providing an additional $160 million over five years to Delaware main highway spending programs.
In addition, Delaware will submit applications in April for two concepts under the federal Local and Regional Project Assistance Grants (RAISE). This is a nationwide competitive program and the U.S. Department of Transportation will announce successful grant recipients by August 12, 2022. Both target traditionally underserved areas, which is a focus of the BIL.
Applying for $6.5 million in a federal grant to begin designing an ambitious plan in the Route 9 area near New Castle, reducing the through lanes on Route 9 with saved lane space used to improve pedestrian and bicycle and bus facilities and provide extra green space. The project would also include rebuilt intersections including roundabouts, a center-lane multi-use pathway over the I-295 Expressway and a pedestrian/bicycle path system to knit together the now largely disconnected neighborhoods along the corridor. If design funds are granted, DelDOT would apply to RAISE for construction funding in future years, with total cost estimated at $30 million.
Applying for $5.8 million to add bicycle lanes and a sidewalk safely along Discountland Road in Laurel, connecting two affordable housing communities (Holly Brook Farms and Carvel Gardens) to a shopping center that contains a grocery store, bank, pharmacies, physical therapy and other amenities.
“We continue to work to address the infrastructure needs we have across the state, and this landmark bill will bring more funding to Delaware that will have a positive impact on every mode of transportation,” said Secretary of DelDOT Nicole Majeski.
“The Bipartisan Infrastructure law represents the single largest investment in our nation’s roads and bridges since the construction of the Interstate Highway System nearly 70 years ago — a historic win for Delawareans and all Americans,” said Senator Carper, who as Chair of the U.S. Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, drafted and negotiated the legislation. “When drafting this legislation, we prioritized investments in safety, especially for pedestrians and bicyclists, sustainability, and resilience, all while addressing the backlog of repairs in our nation’s transportation system. It’s great to see this historic funding making its way into communities across Delaware, rebuilding the roads that connect us in a way makes them more resilient in the face of climate change and that allows Delaware to grow our economy at the same time.”
“Passing the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law was a commitment to revitalize our roads and bridges and put transportation projects in Delaware at the forefront of our agenda,” said Senator Coons. “These upcoming projects will put millions of dollars in critical federal funds towards increasing the resiliency of coastal communities, prioritizing climate action, and reaffirming our commitment to upgrading Delaware’s infrastructure.”
“Delawareans rely on our state’s surface transportation infrastructure to live, work, and travel every day,” said Congresswoman Blunt Rochester. “With funds secured through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law – the largest long-term investment in our nation’s infrastructure in nearly a century that I voted to pass last year – the First State can continue to invest in critical projects to repair and revitalize its roads, highways, and bridges that will improve quality of life and create good-paying jobs at the same time.”
In addition to road and resiliency projects, federal infrastructure funding coming to Delaware in the next several years includes programs for bridges, public transit, electric vehicle charging, carbon reduction, safety improvements and more.