Governor Markell, DE’s Congressional Delegation and Army Corps Announce Beach Restoration Project

REHOBOTH BEACH, Del. –  Governor Jack Markell, Delaware’s Congressional Delegation of U.S. Sens. Carper and Coons and Representative John Carney (all D-Del.) and Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control Secretary Collin O’Mara announced that as much as $30 million in federal funding has been secured to rebuild Delaware beaches to protect homes, businesses and roads against future storm damage. Major storms like Superstorm Sandy proved the importance and resiliency of a strong beach and dune system in protecting lives, property and infrastructure along the Delaware coastline.

“Because we are a low-lying state, extreme storms pose a real threat to us,” said Governor Markell. “Citizens, businesses and infrastructure are affected when an area floods.  My thanks goes to our Congressional delegation for securing the funding that’s allowing us to restore damaged beaches and dunes and shore up our vulnerable areas so we can mitigate the potential impact of future storms.”

The Army Corps of Engineers (ACOE) received funding through the Disaster Relief Appropriations Act of 2013 to restore Delaware beaches to pre-Superstorm Sandy conditions. Almost two million cubic yards of sand will be pumped back onto Delaware beaches. The ACOE also received the necessary funding through Flood Control & Coastal Emergencies (FCCE) to restore Delaware beaches to their design templates, which means the beach just north of the Indian River Inlet will be restored with a full beach and dune that can be maintained by the sand bypass system.

“Yesterday was the six-month anniversary of Superstorm Sandy and while Delaware did not have the severe damage that our neighbors to the north experienced, Delaware did see widespread flooding that caused damage to many of our homes and businesses,” Senator Carper said. “Roads and bridges were damaged or washed out, hurting commerce and transportation and cutting off access to hospitals, schools and work. I am so pleased that we are not only going to repair our beaches, but that the Corps is going to construct a truly protective beach and dune. It’s a smart investment to reduce potential losses and protect lives, homes, businesses and infrastructure.”

“As Delawareans, beaches are at the heart of our communities,” Senator Coons said. “Storms and rising sea levels can cause severe erosion, and we have to remain vigilant in order to ensure we have the best possible protections in place. As we saw when Superstorm Sandy hit in October, sound management and flood protection measures on our beaches prevented devastating damage, and now we have to be ready before the next storm hits. Today marks an important step in our storm recovery, and reiterates our commitment to maintaining vibrant, healthy beach communities along our coastline.”

“As we mark six months since Superstorm Sandy, we are reminded that even though Delaware was spared the widespread damage that occurred in neighboring states, it is important to keep investments in place that will protect our homes, businesses, and infrastructure from serious damage in the future,” said Congressman Carney.  “This funding also supports beach tourism, which contributes greatly to Delaware’s economy and supports thousands of jobs.  With Memorial Day fast approaching, I’m looking forward to another successful year at Delaware’s beaches.”

While repairing and strengthening our beaches is vital to maintaining and growing Delaware’s $6.9 billion a year coastal economy, Delaware’s Congressional Delegation and Governor Markell have been working to ensure that federal dollars are used to mitigate damage from future storms.

“Delaware is one of the most proactive states in the nation in completing ocean beach nourishment projects,” said Sec. O’Mara. “Our successful projects have demonstrated that advanced preparation pays off.  These beach nourishment projects will bring Delaware’s ocean coastline back to the level of protection from floods and storms we had prior to Superstorm Sandy.”

###

 


Governor Markell to Meet with IT Business Leaders in Mumbai

Trade mission to India will also include business visits with manufacturers and health sciences companies

Wilmington – Governor Jack Markell announced today that he will lead a trade mission to India from Wednesday, February 6, through Saturday, February 16, 2013 .  Invited by the National Association of Software and Services Companies (NASSCOM), India’s premier IT industry association, to speak at its annual Leadership Forum in Mumbai on February 13th, Governor Markell will address over 1500 participants from nearly 25 countries, followed by one-on-one meetings with several CEOs and company chairpersons.  The Forum, which will focus on the theme of partnerships and global growth, is among the most prestigious international IT conferences for the growing IT sector in India.

As part of his trip, the State of Delaware is working with the Confederation of Indian Industry, a leading industry association across India, and the Association of Biotechnology Led Enterprises, the top biotechnology industry association, to schedule meetings in Delhi, Bangalore and Mumbai with manufacturers and health sciences companies.

“Indian companies continue to expand their operations in the United States, and we want them to know Delaware has an outstanding IT workforce.  We are leading the country in developing cyber security personnel and have much to offer a prospective company,” said Governor Markell.  “We want international business managers looking to locate or expand their businesses to consider locating in Delaware.”

The Governor will be promoting Delaware’s high-caliber workforce, convenient location, and reasonable cost of living as he meets with several business leaders and their company representatives at the conference.

According to a report published by NASSCOM in 2012, Indian IT companies directly employ 107,000 people in the U.S., up from 58,000 in 2006.  These jobs indirectly support many others through local suppliers, re-spending and tax payments.  Several Indian companies have announced plans to expand employment for U.S. workers over the next few years.

Similar to his previous trips, the Governor will utilize social media to stay in communication with Delawareans. He will participate in a Google+ hangout with students from Delcastle Technical High School, who are working on a project to learn about international social media and trade with India.  The class will communicate with people in Delaware and India over the next several weeks to encourage engagement via Twitter and Facebook. During the Google+ Hangout, they will brief the Governor on their research results.

“Delaware has a world-class IT workforce and an exceptionally strong social media community,” said Governor Markell.  “Social media is a way for our students and our broader community to raise Delaware’s profile in India.  I applaud their efforts to help us communicate beyond our borders.”

Governor Markell will be accompanied by Secretary of Transportation Shailen Bhatt and Felicia Pullam, Deputy Director for International Trade.  Secretary Bhatt previously traveled to India in 2010 representing the Federal Highway Administration to meet with government and business officials interested in furthering cooperation on transportation issues.  Also, University of Delaware President Dr. Patrick Harker will join the trade mission in Mumbai.   The University of Delaware enjoys a strong reputation in India for its chemical engineering department.


Governor Advises Residents To Make Plans for Arrival of Hurricane Sandy

Wilmington – With the strong possibility Hurricane Sandy will significantly affect Delaware, Governor Markell is urging residents and visitors to prepare for the storm.  A combination of rain, wind and tides indicate the Hurricane Sandy could impact the entire state.

“Evacuation is something I don’t take lightly, given the effect it can have on people’s lives and on people’s business.  A mandatory evacuation of the coastal areas is something that is likely if the storm stays on its current path.  We have not declared a state of emergency but will when it become necessary to declare one,” said Governor Markell.   “Many agencies are planning for our state’s readiness. In the meantime, I am encouraging residents to prepare for their families’ safety.  That means making plans to remain at home for long periods of time, possibly without power or evacuate quickly, if needed.   In other words, be prepared to stay and be prepared to leave.”

“I ask people around Delaware to spend Saturday making sure storm drains are clear and to try to get any leaves up that might get washed into storm drains.  The difference between some neighborhoods flooding or not is going to be whether or not storm drains are clogged by leaves on the ground or leaves that will come down during this storm,” said the Governor.

The Governor talked to reporters by phone late this afternoon from his Wilmington Office, advising residents to fill prescriptions, gather emergency items and get households in order.

Watch/hear the Governor’s comments.

The Governor said residents should have an evacuation destination in mind, especially if they live in a flood-prone or coastal area.   The State, Red Cross, local schools and the counties and City of Wilmington will be working together to identify possible shelter locations and activate them when it becomes necessary.

The Delaware Emergency Management Agency (DEMA) and relevant partners statewide are in communication with the National Weather Service and will continue to regularly monitor conditions.

Up-to-date information from State agencies is available online.

For information on making a household emergency plan and building a supply kit, visit www.prepareDE.org, Ready.gov or Listo.gov . For regional weather updates, visit http://weather.gov/phi.

###

 


DelDOT is preparing for a possible major storm

Across Delaware, crews are working to minimize any possible traffic hazards if the storm strikes the area.

Dover — The men and women of the Delaware Department of Transportation (DelDOT) are spending today doing all they can to prepare for the possibility of a major storm striking Delaware, and many will be working over the weekend to ensure the state’s transportation system is as secure as possible.

Below are bullet points detailing their efforts:

DelDOT storm preparation activities

  • Maintenance crews are clearing storm drains of brush and debris along major roads that are prone to flooding.
  • Construction crews have begun removing un-needed equipment that could become a problem during the storm. This includes traffic cones and barrels. They are doing this to eliminate any possible hazards resulting from high winds.
  • In Sussex County near the beaches, crews and contractors are removing a number of overhead signs (a list of those locations is below).
  • Crews are also securing temporary traffic signs at construction locations, so these will resist being blown over by wind.
  • DelDOT has contacted officials with the state Democratic and Republican parties to request that candidates do what they can to remove political signs along state roadways prior to the arrival of the storm; especially large signs that may become airborne.
  • If wind speeds reach a sustained 40 mph, DeDOT will begin pulling its forces off state roads. If winds reach a sustained 50 mph, DelDOT will begin closing major bridges throughout the state.

Construction projects this weekend

  • Work on the Route 1/I-95 interchange will proceed as planned this evening, but will be suspended tomorrow morning.
  • Repaving work on some lanes on I-95 will proceed tonight as planned.
  • The planned closing of I-95 at the the Route 202 will not take place this weekend as previously announced. The work will be rescheduled for a future weekend.
  • Other than in special circumstances, such as the previously described work on I-95 and RT 1, DelDOT contractors typically don’t work during the weekends.

DART and Paratransit

  • DART First State operates in all three counties in Delaware, and is preparing for a possible storm event for next week. A special management personnel matrix has been developed to insure adequate staff coverage.
  • Paratransit customers are urged to stay tuned to weather reports and be prepared for service interruptions should weather conditions deteriorate.
  • If a State of Emergency is declared, fixed route and paratransit service will be suspended. However, if such a declaration occurs mid-day, DART will continue to operate as long as safe road conditions and resources permit. In the event of any service interruption, DART will issue Rider Alerts to riders who subscribe to the service, and to the media.
  • DART Operations employees are considered essential personnel and DART maintains a list of operators who can be readily available for extra duty.
  • Customers should stay tuned to Rider Alerts, DART’s website and local media for further updates

Bridge Safety

  • DelDOT’s bridge staff is gearing up for inspection operations throughout the state. Both DelDOT and DNREC are lowering water levels at various dams to reduce the threat of flood waters.

Indian River Inlet Bridge and Route 1 at the beach

  • Beach and dune erosion remains an ongoing concern for Route 1 throughout the inlet area. However, the new approach roads to the Indian River Inlet Bridge are approximately 100 feet further west than the approaches to the old bridge.
  • Due to probable flooding and / or high winds, it is likely that Route 1 from Dewey to Bethany Beach, including the Indian River Inlet River Bridge, will be closed at some point during the storm.

Tolls

  • All state toll roads are operating as usual and there are no plans to waive tolls at this time.

Closures after the storm

  • Once the storm is over, some roads and bridges may remain closed due to concern for their safety. The public is instructed not to remove DelDOT barricades on any roads and bridges, even if flood water subsides. These closures are necessary because they must be inspected and possibly repaired prior to reopening.

List of overhead signs being removed in Sussex County:

As a precautionary measure, DelDOT crews and contractors are removing 12 large, span-wire overhead signs in Sussex County.

  • This work is scheduled to start Saturday morning and continue throughout the day until all of the identified large signs have been removed.
  • The span wires and flashing lights will remain in place.
  • In most cases, only the right shoulders will require lane closures that will last 30 minutes or less per sign.
  • While we understand that there are multiple overhead span wire signs, these were deemed the most critical as they are located along the state’s coast line and are the largest in nature:
    • Milford – Route 1 & Argos Corner -southbound and northbound lanes
    • Milton – Route 1 & SR 5 (Milton -southbound and northbound lanes
    • Route 1 & Nassau Park Road (north of Five Points) -southbound and northbound lanes
    • Route 1 & Shady Road (Rehoboth) – southbound and northbound lanes
    • Route 1 & Rehoboth Ave. – Fire Signs southbound and northbound lanes
    • Route 1 & South Rehoboth Avenue – Overhead Guide Signs-southbound only
    • Route 1 & South Rehoboth Avenue – Overhead Guide Signs-southbound only


DelDOT makes advance preparations for Hurricane Sandy

The people and equipment of DelDOT are getting ready

Dover – As Hurricane Sandy moves along the East Coast of the United States, senior officials from the Delaware Department of Transportation (DelDOT) are monitoring the reports from the National Weather Service, and the Delaware Emergency Management Agency. They have instructed DelDOT crews to begin preparations in case the storm impacts our state.

Across Delaware, crews are making sure equipment is available and ready for service, and most importantly, making sure that personnel are ready for the possibility of working for an extended period.

DelDOT urges people who live in areas prone to flooding to take precautions too. Thought should be given to possible evacuation, and assembling necessary supplies. Staying off the roads during the storm will help DelDOT crews do their jobs.

“At DelDOT, we always plan for the worst, and hope for the best,” said DelDOT Secretary Shailen Bhatt. “Today, we’re asking residents to please start making plans as well.”

For more information, contact DelDOT Public Relations. 800.652.5600, 302.760.2080, or email: dot-pr@delaware.gov