Delaware’s I-495 Closing Brings Attention to State Infrastructure

Filed in Delaware by on June 5, 2014

Monday’s closure of Delaware’s I-495 bridge has brought to attention the ailing state of Delaware’s infrastructure (not to mention America’s infrastructure). It’s no secret that the infrastructure of Delaware and the entire nation is in desperate need of attention and repair, and most state politicians have agreed, yet few have actually taken action on this issue. Governor Markell has repeatedly called for additional focus on Delaware’s infrastructure, and with the recent bridge closing, so have many more members of the state legislature.

The infrastructural issues of Delaware range from our roadways to our waterways, and none of it can be ignored. With a quick google search any person can find several reports and informative pieces on Delaware’s infrastructural shortcomings. 36% of Delaware’s major roadways are in poor or lacking condition, over 20% of our bridges are either structurally deficient or obsolete, and the state has 65 high hazard dams. This is nothing short of extremely concerning.

Between the many issues, Delaware would need to spend hundreds of millions of dollars to actually complete renovations, but in my opinion, this is an entirely necessary investment. Infrastructure itself has a serious implication on how the economy of the state functions. No one truly becomes economically independent without first having attended the schools of the state, using its roads, drinking its water, and benefiting from its renewable energy, port trade, and more. Delaware has recently had fairly slow economic growth in comparison to a large portion of the country, and infrastructural improvements are an easy way to improve economic tension.

Now certainly the state can’t go borrowing piles of money to begin repairs, but even the Governor agrees that it’s time to act. In January, Governor Markell proposed to spend $500 million more on infrastructure over the next five years than originally planned, and this is a start.

Delaware itself has the opportunity now to catch the problem before we allow it to sink too far. Without our roadways, waterways, ports, schools, and all other aspects of the state’s infrastructure, we’ll quickly find ourselves struggling to compete economically with the rest of the nation. Hopefully Delaware can prove to be more productive in improving its infrastructure than the recent efforts by members of the U.S. Congress.

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  1. cassandra m says:

    Interestingly, Delaware spends a decent amount of money each year for beach replenishment — treating the beach as though it is a permanent bit of infrastructure, when Mother Nature tells us otherwise year after year. People will tell you that the beach is an economic asset — but our roads are more so. Just think about all of the productivity that is being stolen by the rerouting of the 495 traffic due to this bridge failure.

    It is looking as though the bridge was destabilized by the placement of large soil piles near the bridge piers. The question I have is how often does DelDOT inspect its easements — especially those near to its highway assets. Because it seems that the pile started sometime in 2012, and if it is in the DelDOT easement, someone should have noticed.

  2. Jason330 says:

    “Delaware spends a decent amount of money each year for beach replenishment — treating the beach as though it is a permanent bit of infrastructure…”

    Too bad Michael Castle doesn’t have a million dollar house next to 495.

  3. SussexAnon says:

    For those keeping score, gas is now nearly 20 cents more a gallon when Markell proposed his 10 cents a gallon tax to pay for stuff like this.

  4. Aint's Taking it Any More says:

    What does the un-passed proposal to raise the gas tax have to do with the current price of gas? What am I missing today?


  5. SussexAnon says:

    Those who opposed the gas tax to pay for roads complained that raising the gas tax would kill jobs and destroy life as we know it in our little hamlet known as Delaware.

    Apparently only socialist infrastructure program tax increases cause destruction.

  6. puck says:

    It’s simple – we just need to dump an enormous pile of dirt on the other side of the bridge until the piers level out.