Interstate 495 Delaware

Routing

Officially designated the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Highway, Interstate 495 forms an eastern bypass of Wilmington. The six lane freeway also serves interests to the Port of Wilmington and industrial areas in east Wilmington and at Edgemoor. Commuter interests to Wilmington use I-495 as well from I-95 into south Wilmington and between 12th Street and Claymont. Speed limits along the route are variable and displayed on electronic signs. These were implemented along I-495 in 2004.

History

Opened to traffic in 1978, Interstate 495 was renumbered as the mainline for Interstate 95 in 1979 while the former route through Wilmington was changed to I-895. This designation switch coincided with major reconstruction along the Wilmington Viaduct and Adams-Jackson Freeway sections of I-95. AASHTO approved the renumbering of I-495 to I-95 on June 26, 1979 and the renumbering back to I-495 on November 14, 1980.

Interstate 495 traverses wetland areas along the Christina River through to industrial areas of south Wilmington near the Port. Spanning the Christina on a high-level bridge, the freeway continue to Edgemoor and along the Delaware River parallel to U.S. 13 (Governor Printz Boulevard), the AMTRAK Northeast Corridor and a Norfolk Southern Railroad line through to Claymont.

Premature cracking, due to incompatible types of cement and stone used in the mid-1970s, was discovered in the concrete surface of Interstate 495. This resulted in a federally subsidized $15.5-million repair contract awarded to Cherry Hill Construction Co. Work began in early April 1992 along a 6.4-mile stretch of northbound lanes between the Edgemoor interchange and I-95 at the Pennsylvania state line. Contractor delays, ranging from equipment problems, bad weather and other problems, arose and pushed back a shift of work to the southbound lanes from July 1992 to October 10, 1992, while a single lane of traffic operated in each direction. Work was to wrap up by early November 1992, but instead continued through 1993, with all three southbound lanes reopened May 22, 1993. A $5,000-per-day penalty was accessed to the contractor beyond the original completion date.1,2,3

Subsequent resurfacing work along Interstate 495 followed along the remainder of the freeway leading south to I-95 near Newport. That work ran through 1994 to July 1995.4

The Wilmington bypass originally included four interchanges at U.S. 13 (Dupont Highway), Delaware 9A (Terminal Avenue), 12th Street and U.S. 13 (Philadelphia Pike). The Edgemoor interchange was planned in 1985 and completed by 1989. The new ramps linked I-495 with U.S. 13 (Governor Printz Boulevard) and Delaware 3 (Edgemoor Road) in an industrial area along the Delaware River at Edgemoor.

The diamond interchange with 12th Street provides access to Downtown Wilmington from Interstate 495. Plans for the 12th Street extension in the 1970s included options for a multi-lane arterial or expressway through to a new bridge across Brandywine Creek at 14th and Poplar Streets. Community opposition led to a March 1982 revision of the proposed route to run further north to 16th Street. Ensuing events ultimately led to its cancellation of the 12th Street Connector.5

During the year 2000, Interstate 95 between U.S. 202 (Concord Pike) and Interstate 495 at Claymont underwent major reconstruction. Opened to traffic in 1968, the original concrete deteriorated throughout the 1990s, leading to the work. The six-month project shut down one direction of I-95 for a three month period so that crews could rubblize the existing concrete and overlay it with a new type of asphalt material. During the I-95 shutdown, all through traffic was diverted onto I-495. As a result, Interstate 495 improvements included expansion of the northern and southern interchange lanes available to and from I-95 and new access from I-495 south to U.S. 13 north and U.S. 13 south to I-495 north at Exit 1. This work was completed in June 2000. Otherwise updated signs were installed at the southern terminus and reassurance shields were replaced all along Interstate 495. The was significant because very few markers were posted for I-495 along the mainline prior to 2000.

One proposal arose by late 1999 to renumber Interstate 495 as the new alignment for Interstate 95. This was sought to offset the impending closure of I-95 north of Wilmington for reconstruction. The plan involved renumbering I-95 through Wilmington as either Business Loop I-95 or Interstate 195. It never came to fruition due to objections from Wilmington city leaders on losing I-95.

The 4,800 foot long bridge over the Christina River was completed in 1974. The span was closed on June 2, 2014, following inspections revealing that four support columns tilted by as much as 2.4 degrees from vertical. The bridge was subsequently closed while an emergency repair project got underway to stabilize the bridge supports and re-level a 400 foot portion of the deck. Both directions of the span were opened by August 23, 2014, with the $40 million project continuing through the end of the year.6

Highway Guides

Southern Terminus - Interstate 95 and Interstate 295 - Newport, Delaware
Perspective from Interstate 495 south
Interstate 495 veers west from Southbridge in Wilmington toward U.S. 13 (Dupont Highway) by Minquadale and Interstates 95 and 295 ahead of Newport. Photo taken 08/18/05.
Three lanes continue west along Interstate 495 toward the wye interchange with I-95 south while a lane drop occurs at Exit 1 for U.S. 13 (Dupont Highway) south toward New Castle and north back into Wilmington. Photo taken 08/18/05.
The south end of I-495 defaults motorists onto the left-hand side of Interstate 95 preceding its merge with I-295 south. A flyover departs from the right, allowing commuter traffic to reach the collector distributor roadway for U.S. 202 south and Delaware 141 (Newport Freeway). Photo taken 08/18/05.
Traffic to Exit 5 and Delaware 141 parts ways with Interstate 495 south. A left-hand exit follows onto I-295 north leading east toward New Castle and the Delaware Memorial Bridge. There is no access to I-95 north otherwise. Photo taken 08/18/05.
Interstate 95 continues beyond I-295 and Newport toward Newark and the John F. Kennedy Memorial Highway toll road west to Baltimore, Maryland. Photo taken 03/27/04.
Perspective from Interstate 95 north
The first in a series of sign bridges for Interstates 295 and 495 appears along Interstate 95 north at the Delaware 58 (Churchmans Road) overpass. I-95 (Delaware Turnpike) maintains eight overall lanes from the Newark Toll Plaza eastward to Delaware 1 & 7 (Exit 4) and ten lanes across Christina Marsh through to the split with I-295. Photo taken 12/29/08.
The right two lanes of I-95 north exit onto Interstate 295, which follows the Delaware Memorial Bridge across the Delaware River into New Jersey. A short distance east of the bridge, I-295 turns north toward Camden at the beginning of the New Jersey Turnpike. I-495 traffic stays to the left to an adjacent wye interchange. Photo taken 12/29/08.
The carriageways of Interstate 95 separate as the freeway enters the massive interchange complex with U.S. 202 south, Delaware 141 (Newport Freeway), Interstate 295 and Interstate 495. Four lanes stay to the left for Wilmington while two lanes depart for New Jersey and the adjacent loop ramp to Newport. Photo taken 12/29/08.
Interstate 295 begins at this gore point along Interstate 95 northbound. Widening of the freeway between 2007-08 expanded the split to add an additional northbound lane for Interstates 95 & 495. The busy junction regularly sees traffic counts over 150,000 per day. During peak travel times, such as holidays and summer weekends, it is not uncommon for I-295 traffic congestion to stretch two to three miles westward. Photo taken 12/29/08.
Interstate 95 gains U.S. 202 north from Delaware 141 north as the freeway parallels the fledgling Interstate 295. Beyond the Delaware 141 northbound overpass, I-95 north curves northeast and approaches the split with Interstate 495. Photo taken 12/22/08.
When Interstate 95 was reconstructed north of Wilmington in 2000, a third lane was added for Interstate 495 north. 2007-08 construction expanded the split even further with a third lane for I-95 north to Wilmington. Clearview font based signs were installed here in 2008. Photo taken 12/22/08.
Interstate 495 branches to the northeast from Interstate 95 & U.S. 202 north toward the Port of Wilmington and Edgemoor. The freeway carries the bulk of through traffic bound for Philadelphia as speed limits are ten miles per hour higher than those set along I-95. Photo taken 12/22/08.
Historical Perspective from Interstate 95 north
Photos covering older lane and sign configurations for the Interstates 95/495 split are posted on the Interstate 95 North - Delaware Archive page on AARoads.
Perspective from Interstate 295 south
Interstate 295 leaves the Farnhurst Interchange with U.S. 13 & 40 and approaches the junction with I-495 north, I-95 and Delaware 141. The interchange with U.S. 13 (DuPont Highway) opened in 1951; the freeway west to Interstate 95 opened in 1963. Photo taken 05/19/07.
A ramp for the northbound beginning of I-495 departs Interstate 295 south. I-495 constitutes an 11-mile long bypass of Wilmington for interests north to Claymont and Delaware County, Pennsylvania. Photo taken 05/19/07.
Northern Terminus - Interstate 95 - Claymont, Delaware
Perspective from Interstate 495 north
Interstate 495 curves away from the adjacent Delaware River and the AMTRAK Northeast Corridor to approach both U.S. 13 (Philadelphia Pike) and Interstate 95 at Claymont. Pull through signs for the freeway default to I-95 ahead of Exit 5. Photo taken 12/22/08.
Interstate 495 parallels U.S. 13 from Edgemoor northward to Claymont. The US highway continues north from Exit 5 to Marcus Hook and Chichester, Pennsylvania as a local route serving industrial areas along the Delaware River. The freeway ends otherwise in 0.75 miles at a wye interchange. Photo taken 12/22/08.
Travelers along I-495 north merge onto Interstate 95 at the Pennsylvania state line. I-95 continues five miles to Chester. Photo taken 12/22/08.
Historical Perspective from Interstate 495 north
Photos showing replaced guide signs from I-495 north found at Interstate 495 - Delaware Archive page on AARoads.
Perspective from Interstate 95 south
The first reference for Interstate 495 along I-95 south appears on this interchange sequence sign posted two miles out at a pedestrian overpass near Trainer.
This sign was damaged by 2009. Photo taken 07/27/07.
Three lanes of Interstate 95 advance south from the Blueball Avenue overpass toward the wye interchange (Exit 11) with Interstate 495. The "City/Port of" overlay on the sign was added for the I-95 reconstruction project in 2000. When Interstate 95 southbound was closed, all traffic was redirected along I-495, including traffic destined for the city of Wilmington. Photo taken 07/27/07.
A second diagrammatic overhead precedes the partition of Interstates 95 and 495 at the Delaware state line. Local and Thru Traffic overlays here remain from the 2000 reconstruction of I-95 between I-495 and U.S. 202. I-495 carries the bulk of through traffic headed south to Baltimore with six overall lanes while I-95 reduces to four lanes through the Brandywine Hundred communities leading into Wilmington. Photo taken 07/27/07.
An interchange sequence sign appears just north of the PA 491 (Naamans Creek Road) underpass for Interstate 495 south. The forthcoming Naamans Road (SR 92) diamond interchange (Exit 6 on I-495 south / Exit 11 on I-95 north) surrounds the freeway split. Photo taken 07/27/07.
A weathered, original I-495 shield directs motorists to the right as I-95 crosses the West Branch of Naamans Creek. Follow Interstate 95 to Downtown Wilmington and Interstate 495 to Edgemoor and the Port of Wilmington. Photo taken 07/27/07.
Still just inside Pennsylvania, Interstate 495 branches southeast from Interstate 95 south to Claymont. The two routes reconvene along I-95 in 11.2 miles. Photo taken 07/27/07.
  1. "I-495 repairs might continue through spring." The News Journal, September 25, 1992.
  2. "Contractor facing penalties." The News Journal, February 17, 1993.
  3. "Expect further delay on I-495 and woes down the road on I-95." The News Journal, May 23, 1993.
  4. "Nightmares of the Week - Fast times on I-495." The News Journal, October 23, 1994.
  5. "Upper East Side residents fight I-495 connector." The Wilmington News Journal, April 14, 1982.
  6. "All I-495 lanes open." The News Journal (DE), August 25, 2014.

Page Updated December 31, 2015.

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