Delaware officials hope rest stop becomes a destination

    Travelers on I-95 in Delaware have a new spot to grab a bite to eat as the state’s new welcome center opens its doors just in time for the summer holiday travel season.

    For years, drivers traveling through Delaware on I-95 could stop at an aging service plaza just north of Newark for a bite to eat and some gas.  But that rest stop was razed early last fall to make way for a state of the art replacement designed to give visitors to the state a better first impression.

    The $35-million Delaware Welcome Center offers seven restaurants and four shops to the 4.5 million annual visitors expected to make a top at the plaza.  Construction of the 42,000 sq. ft. main building and 4,200 sq. ft. fuel station took just nine months.  Delaware Governor Jack Markell was one of a handful VIP’s given a sneak peak at the facility last week.  He says, “This is a great way to welcome people to Delaware, so between this and the high speed EZ pass lanes that we’re putting in, we’re really transforming the experience for people who come through our state.”  Elected officials on hand for the ribbon cutting last week also celebrated the fact that the plaza was rebuilt without one cent from the state or federal government.

    In addition to traditional fast food offerings, the plaza also has a convenience store and a Delaware souvenir shop.  The plaza also offers 50 CabAire truck parking spots that allow truckers to have power in their trucks without having to idle their engines.

    The plaza officially opens to travelers at noon on Thursday June 24.

    Want a digest of WHYY’s programs, events & stories? Sign up for our weekly newsletter.

    Together we can reach 100% of WHYY’s fiscal year goal