A two-year project to improve a key gateway in Delaware’s largest city is now finished – to the relief of local businesses and thousands of drivers who use Market Street every day.
The project involved the elevation of a stretch of Market Street south of the Christina River Bridge prone to frequent flooding. Construction began in September 2010.
“This was a project that was completed both ahead of schedule and within budget,” Delaware Secretary of Transportation Shailen Bhatt said Wednesday at a ceremony celebrating the end of nearly two years of construction, lane restrictions and traffic tie-ups. DelDOT says the $4.43 million project was fully funded by the stimulus fund, or the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009.
“This is one more of these important projects where we are making infrastructure investments that will last a long time, that will be to the benefit of our economy and this community for a long time and which also put people to work in the near term,” Gov. Jack Markell added.
Before the improvement project, South Market Street would sometimes become impassable during heavy rain, cutting off a key access route out of the downtown area of the city.
“Any rain would cause flooding, and a lot of times they had to shut the road down,” said Ed Osborne, the owner of Osborne’s Auto Repair. “This was a project that was long overdue.”
The promise of a smoother ride has also spurred development interest along the east bank of the Christina River. A Shop Rite supermarket and other businesses have opened at the Christina Crossing Shopping Center, which will be served by a new bus shelter. During the project, new sidewalks and lighting were installed, and utilities were placed underground, eliminating the need for utility poles and overhead wires.
“The raising of the road bed along South Market Street is important for a variety of reasons, but especially because of what it means for the future orderly and organized development of this area of the city,” Mayor James Baker said.
“This is the kind of project that makes a lasting difference in a community,” U.S. Senator Chris Coons said.
The Market Street project is one of the last ones in Delaware completed that received stimulus funding, and was done by Mumford and Miller Concrete of Middletown.