New Delaware DMV replaces outdated site


State leaders cut the ribbon on Delaware’s newest DMV which is closer to the rapidly growing area near Delaware City and Middletown.

The new Division of Motor Vehicles facility just outside Delaware City on Route 13 replaces the cramped facility in New Castle that opened nearly 50 years ago.

“This is a fantastic day for Delaware,” said DMV Director Jennifer Cohan before state leaders officially cut the ribbon on the new facility. “It is one of my proudest moments to be able to officially say the Delaware City DMV facility is completed.”

Construction on the $20 million facility took just ten months and was completed on time. With seven inspection lanes, four drive-through teller windows and 30 customer service desks inside, the 42,000 sq. ft. building is designed to handle the growing population in the southern New Castle area. The new DMV is expected to complete 9,000 vehicle inspections and issue 12,500 driver licenses every month.

Culture of customer service

Governor Markell looked back with fond memories on his experience at the New Castle facility that the new site replaces. He got his first license at that New Castle site in 1976. “There will be generations of people to come who will be thinking of this place as fondly as I did of that place.”

For Senator Carper, it was a terrible experience decades ago at an old DMV office in Wilmington that demonstrated how not to serve customers. “Wouldn’t it be great to be in a position to put customer service into the DNA of the DMV,” Carper asked the crowd gathered for the ribbon cutting. “You know what? We’ve done it. We actually provide terrific customer service.” 

DelDOT Secretary Shailen Bhatt believes Delawareans may take the customer service at Delaware’s DMV for granted. “I think that people in Delaware sometimes are spoiled by the fact that they have such a great DMV, and if you don’t believe me, go to another state and try to get a drivers license,” Bhatt said.

Some old with the new

While the new facility has all the bells and whistles you would expect in a state-of-the-art building, there’s also a bit of Delaware automotive history included as well. Framing the interior entrance doors of the new DMV is an art installation formed of terra cotta tiles that formerly decorated the Delaware Oldsmobile dealership in Wilmington about 65 years ago.

The tiles were first installed in 1949 at the dealership which was located at 40th St. and Governor Printz Boulevard in Wilmington. After several decades, the dealership closed, but the tiles were deemed a significant piece of art worthy of preservation. The tiles were removed in 2003 and stored until a place to display them could be found. Ten years later, the tiles are back on display in the lobby of the new DMV.

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