Delaforum learned of its existence in an indirect manner,
a community advisory group on the project was meeting virtually
unnoticed in an effort to devise an arrangement for working on
the highway in a way that will produce the least amount of
disruption elsewhere. That is in sharp contrast with the long
planning and media ballyhoo which preceded reconstruction of the
road between Concord Pike and the Pennsylvania border.
through-Wilmington phase of the three-part project is scheduled
to occur in 2003, following completion of work, now under way,
on the south Wilmington viaduct. The affected section runs
between Fourth Street and Concord Pike with the southbound
Concord Pike interchange included.
previously reported, the committee has narrowed options for how
to proceed to four: Maintain four lanes of traffic by using the
shoulders, reduce the flow in both directions from two lanes to
one lane, alternately close off southbound and then northbound
traffic as was done in the northern section, or shut down the
meeting on June 20, the committee was told that construction
will take from March to November, 2003, under the first option
with completion becoming progressively sooner, back to August,
with the others.
event, the question is what to do with traffic -- primarily
commuters coming into the city on workday mornings and leaving
in the afternoons. That is about 20,000 vehicles.
Consultant Jennifer Walsh said the most heavily impacted area,
no matter which form of traffic diversion -- highway people no
longer like to talk about detours -- is adopted, will be the
Triangle neighborhood bounded by Broom and 18th Streets, Concord
Avenue and Baynard Boulevard. Others feeling the pinch will be
Adams and Jackson Streets and the city entrances along Walnut
and King Streets.
Department of Transportation project manager Darren O'Neill said
that the first step toward reducing the volume will be to again
divert through traffic from I-95 to Interstate 495. That, he
explained, has to involve more than just posting construction
warnings. "People generally like to follow the I-95 symbol" and
will do so regardless of what the signs say, he said.
will be advisable to keep as much of I-95 as possible open to
handle local traffic and avoid shunting it to roads through
Brandywine Hundred, O'Neill suggested a total blockage of
southbound passage at the I-95-I-495 split just north of Naamans
Road while keeping the entry ramps at Naamans, Harvey and Marsh
roads open. Through traffic thereby would be effectively
switched over to the riverside bypass while locals in the know
could still access the main highway, he explained.
Still, he said, work-related
closures -- including the shoulders options -- will
significantly reduce the highway's capacity and most likely
create traffic backups.