Interstate 495 Delaware
Named the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Highway, Interstate 495 forms an eastern bypass of Wilmington. The six lane freeway also serves freight traffic to the Port of Wilmington and industrial areas at Cherry Island and the 11th Street Bridge community in Wilmington and Edgemoor. I-495 also serves commuter interests from I-95 into south Wilmington and between 12th Street and Claymont. Implemented in 2004, variable speed limits are used along the route.
Opened to traffic in 1978, Interstate 495 was renumbered as the mainline for I-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. The American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (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.
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 long 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 issues, arose and pushed back the 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
Source: December 31, 2021 Interstate Route Log and Finders List
I-495 Annual Average Daily Traffic (AADT)
Source: 2019 AADT – Delaware Department of Transportation (DelDOT) – Traffic Counts
Work on Interstate 495 started in 1968.5
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. They were located at U.S. 13 (Dupont Highway), SR 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 SR 3 (Edgemoor Road) in an industrial area along the Delaware River.
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 to a new bridge across Brandywine Creek at 14th and Poplar Streets. Community opposition resulted in a March 1982 revision of the proposed route, moving it further north to 16th Street. Ensuing events however ultimately led to the cancellation of the 12th Street Connector.5
Interstate 95 between U.S. 202 (Concord Pike) and I-495 at Claymont underwent major reconstruction in 2000. Opened to traffic in 1968, the original concrete deteriorated throughout the 1990s, leading to the six-month project. While underway, one direction of I-95 was shut down for a three month period so that crews could rubblize the existing concrete and overlay it with a new type of asphalt material. 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 from U.S. 13 south to I-495 north at Exit 1. This work was completed in June 2000. Signs at the south end of I-495 were also replaced and reassurance shields were installed all along Interstate 495. The was significant because very few markers were posted for I-495 along the mainline prior to 2000.
Preceding the I-95 reconstruction, a late 1999 proposal advocated renumbering I-495 as Interstate 95. The plan outlined 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. It closed on June 2, 2014, following inspections revealing that four support columns tilted by as much as 2.4 degrees from vertical. A succeeding emergency repair project stabilized the bridge supports and leveled a 400 foot portion of the deck. Both directions of the span reopened by August 23, 2014, with the $40 million project continuing through the end of the year.6
North End – Claymont, Delaware
Three lanes advance south on I-95 from the Blueball Avenue overpass toward the wye interchange (Exit 11) with I-495. The “City/Port of” overlay on the sign was added for the I-95 reconstruction project in 2000. When I-95 southbound was closed, all traffic was redirected along I-495, including traffic destined for the city of Wilmington. 12/20/22
A second diagrammatic overhead precedes the partition of I-95/495 at the Delaware state line. Local and Thru Traffic overlays here remained from the 2000 reconstruction of I-95 between I-495 and U.S. 202 at Wilmington. I-495 carries the bulk of traffic headed south to Baltimore with six overall lanes while I-95 reduces to four lanes through the Brandywine Hundred community. 12/20/22
North End Throwback
South End – Newport, Delaware
The first in a series of sign bridges for I-295/495 appears along Interstate 95 north at the SR 58 (Churchmans Road) overpass. I-95 (Delaware Turnpike) maintains eight overall lanes from the Newark Toll Plaza eastward to SR 1/7 (Exit 4) and ten lanes across Christina Marsh to the split with I-295. 12/22/20
The right two lanes of I-95 north separate onto I-295, which follows the Delaware Memorial Bridge across the Delaware River into New Jersey. Just beyond the twin suspension bridges, I-295 turns north toward Camden at the beginning of the New Jersey Turnpike. I-495 splits from I-95 north at a succeeding wye interchange. 12/22/20
South End Throwback
- “I-495 repairs might continue through spring.” The News Journal, September 25, 1992.
- “Contractor facing penalties.” The News Journal, February 17, 1993.
- “Expect further delay on I-495 and woes down the road on I-95.” The News Journal, May 23, 1993.
- “Nightmares of the Week – Fast times on I-495.” The News Journal, October 23, 1994.
- “Upper East Side residents fight I-495 connector.” The Wilmington News Journal, April 14, 1982.
- “All I-495 lanes open.” The News Journal (DE), August 25, 2014.
Page updated April 10, 2023.