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Planners look for solution to truck traffic issue around Port of Wilmington

Delaware Public Media

Planners are looking to address the truck traffic problem that residents around the Port of Wilmington face. 

Residents around the Port say heavy truck traffic in and around their neighborhoods causes air pollution, vibrations and noise. They’ve long been vocal about the issue — and some have even been bought out. 

Now with port owner Gulftainer aiming to expandport activities, planners at DelDOT and the Wilmington Area Planning Council (WILMAPCO) are studying whether, and how, to divert the traffic. Several solutions have been proposed in previous plans, but planners now want to pick one to advance toward implementation. 

Drew Boyce is with Century Engineering, which is helping with the project. He said at a virtual public workshop Wednesday that a technical analysis is underway. 

“Basically what we’re trying to do is with these certain ideas, how does that impact where trucks are on the network,”  Boyce said. “Taking trucks off of one road, putting them on another road, and how does that impact the overall transportation network? We’re going to use that to be able to determine what alternative provides the most benefit.”

Planners presented several potential routes the trucks could take — and asked for additional suggestions. 

Nearby residents and area elected officials called for zoning changes, more enforcement and physical barriers to prevent trucks from using certain roads. 

State Rep. Frank Cooke (D-New Castle) called the trucks’ presence “environmental injustice,” during Wednesday’s workshop. 

“Some of this stuff is pretty tough,” he said. “I get calls all the time.”

Planners will assemble a working group representing the local community, elected officials and businesses to guide the study.

The planners say they will judge the solutions based on their effectiveness in addressing the needs of both the community and businesses near the Port.


Sophia Schmidt is a Delaware native. She comes to Delaware Public Media from NPR’s Weekend Edition in Washington, DC, where she produced arts, politics, science and culture interviews. She previously wrote about education and environment for The Berkshire Eagle in Pittsfield, MA. She graduated from Williams College, where she studied environmental policy and biology, and covered environmental events and local renewable energy for the college paper.
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