Carper, Coons, Blunt Rochester Announce $15 Million PROTECT Grant to Combat Effects of Climate Change in Townsend

U.S. Senators Tom Carper and Chris Coons along with Congresswoman Lisa Blunt Rochester (all D-Del.) announced the U.S. Department of Transportation awarded a $15 million Promoting Resilient Operations for Transformative, Efficient, and Cost-Saving Transportation (PROTECT) grant to the Delaware Department of Transportation (DelDOT) to combat the effects of climate change on State Route 9 in Townsend. This funding is from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law supported by Senators Carper, Coons and Representative Blunt Rochester and signed into law by President Biden in 2021.

This grant will help raise State Route 9 at Taylors Bridge to preserve access that is gradually diminishing as sea level rise overtakes the road and disrupts travel daily. The project will make additional bridge improvements including widening sidewalks, expanding road shoulders, reducing the number of piers from nine to three to improve water flow, and installing retaining walls to reduce wetlands impacts.

“Delaware is the lowest lying state, so we see – first-hand – the impacts of climate change, particularly when communities are cut off due to flooding,” said Senator Carper, Chairman of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee (EPW). “This funding will help make Route 9 at Taylors Bridge become more resilient and safer for passage. But it’s not enough just to address the problems, we must also continue to address the symptoms of climate change. I’m encouraged by the steps we are taking at all levels of government to cut carbon emissions and combat climate change.”

“Delaware doesn’t need adverse weather to regularly face climate-related challenges. This funding will help address serious concerns and improve our commuter routes in the face of a changing environment,” said Senator Chris Coons. “We must work to reduce the impact weather events will have on our state and our world while there is still time to do so, and this PROTECT grant will go a long way toward doing just that in Townsend.”

“Ensuring Delaware communities are equipped to withstand the impacts of the climate crisis has never been more important,” said Rep. Blunt Rochester, member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee. “I’m proud to have helped secure a $15 million PROTECT Grant for the Delaware Department of Transportation, made possible through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, to make Route 9 at Taylors Bridge more resilient. This critical investment will not only benefit Townsend residents but will also confront the challenges posed by the climate crisis and represents a significant step forward in our ongoing efforts to build a more sustainable and resilient future for Delawareans.”

“As we see more frequent flooding occurring in this area, the existing 60-year-old bridge structure on the Delaware Bayshore Byway is in need of replacing to maintain road access for area residents,” said DelDOT Secretary Nicole Majeski. “We thank our congressional delegation for advocating for this funding that will allow this project to move forward.”