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More progress made on planning a public space over I-95

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Highway caps are an effort to reconnect cities split by highways. WILMAPCO hosted its third public workshop about building a cap over I-95 on Tuesday.

The workshop showcased 3 designs for a cap to cover a section of I-95 in Wilmington between the Delaware Avenue bridge and the 6th Street bridge.

The revised designs were based on feedback from past meetings. They reflected a rejection of retail spaces and formal sport areas, and a desire for public plazas, shaded areas, and urban gardens.

WILMAPCO principal planner Dave Gulla says feedback received Tuesday will help planners come up with a final concept for the next workshop.

“We’ll also nail down a little more of the transportation piece so that we’ve talked about intersections and how they have to be improved. Because if you build a park that no one can access safely then you’ve wasted a lot of time and money,” explained Gulla. “So we have to look at those, and maybe start to put those forward as a program. And we’ll come back in November and say to the public ‘here’s what you told us, here’s how we transcribed it, tell us if this is it.’ And we can still make a couple of tweaks after that.”

Cap 95 Concept Designs
WILMAPCO
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Planners also presented a traffic analysis Tuesday. It found that any two bridges between Delaware Avenue and 6th Street could be closed without impacting traffic or emergency routes if other traffic mitigation measures were taken.

Toyin Ogunfolaju facilitated Tuesday’s meeting. She’s an Infrastructure and Social-Economic Inclusion Leader at Jacobs Engineering - which is consulting on the project.

“One of the pieces of feedback we received is the idea that hopefully this is not one of those ‘we’re going to do amazing things and then nothing happens for 20 years’ so I’m really looking forward to seeing what the next steps will look like,” said Ogunfolaju.

Once final designs are completed, WILMAPCO will pass them to DELDOT to determine how they can be implemented.

The cost of the project and how to fund it remain up in the air, but the institutions involved in planning are committed to making it happen.

The final public meeting for this phase will take place in November.

Quinn Kirkpatrick was born and raised in Wilmington, Delaware and a graduated of the University of Delaware. She joined Delaware Public Media in June 2021