Newark Toll Plaza Traffic Congestion Eliminated One Year Later

E-ZPass highway speed lanes installed with ARRA-funding alleviated hours-long traffic delays.

NEWARK, Del. – Today, U.S. Sen. Tom Carper (D-Del.) joined Delaware Department of Transportation and AAA Mid-Atlantic officials to highlight the Newark Toll Plaza’s alleviated traffic congestion on its one-year anniversary.

In 2011, the I-95 Newark Toll Plaza underwent reconstruction and reconfiguration to incorporate two highway-speed E-ZPass lanes in the northbound and southbound directions. The project cost approximately $32.6 million and is funded by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA).

“Installation of the highway-speed E-ZPass lanes at the Newark Toll Plaza was welcomed by hundreds of thousands of motorists that travel through Delaware on I-95 each day, and especially this week as we see an increase in drivers on the road due to the Fourth of July holiday,” said Sen. Carper. “This project could not have been completed without federal funding from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, and the I-95 toll plaza upgrade is one of the largest ARRA-funded projects in Delaware. On the anniversary of the completion of this project, I am so pleased to see the traffic congestion has been alleviated as well as harmful emissions reduced. That’s a win-win situation and just the type of project I envisioned when supporting ARRA legislation in Congress.”

Prior to the installation of the E-ZPass highway speed lanes at the Newark Toll Plaza, drivers would experience delays, sometimes for hours on a holiday weekend. With the installation of the new lanes, drivers with E-ZPass have had delays completely eliminated. They no longer have to wait in backups for miles with the non-E-ZPass drivers to approach the toll booths, slowing down to go through the narrow concrete barriers and pass the toll booths. E-ZPass users traveling through the Newark Toll Plaza is now 65 percent, compared to 55 percent last year at this time.

Vic Buono, Delaware Department of Transportation’s Chief of Toll Operations, said, “Over the past three years, the Newark Toll Plaza has processed an average of 25 million vehicles annually. That is an average of 69 thousand vehicles per day. Prior to and during the reconstruction, motorists consistently experienced traffic delays from 15 minutes up to an hour, or more. The delays were often even longer on summer weekends and holidays. All of those war stories are why I am so extremely proud to report that since last July’s opening of the new highway speed E-ZPass lanes and modernized cash lanes, we have had no measurable delays at all, including weekends and holidays!”

The improvements have helped non-E-ZPass holders as well. These drivers now can drive highway speed to the entrance of the toll booth, usually waiting at most behind eight to10 cars before being able to pay their toll.

“Clearly, the success of the highway-speed E-ZPass tolling system is evidenced by the elimination of aggravating and dangerous toll plaza congestion, even during peak holiday and summer weekend traffic flows,” said Ron Kosh, Vice President of Public and Government Affairs for AAA Mid-Atlantic. “Delaware now has a much more welcoming and motorist-friendly ‘front door.'”