DelDOT Calls Attention to Employee Injuries, High Number of Overall Fatalities

For the second time in two weeks, a DelDOT employee was seriously injured on Harris Road near Townsend in New Castle County yesterday while mowing grass. The employee was flown to the hospital as a result of the injuries he sustained and remains hospitalized. The driver was charged with driving without a license, not having insurance, and inattentive driving.

“We are seeing far too many people driving unsafely and now have had three employees injured in just the past two weeks by motorists not taking basic actions like slowing down when approaching our workers on the road,” said Secretary of Transportation Jennifer Cohan. “Beyond the safety of our employees, the number of overall fatalities happening on our roads is unacceptable. There is no excuse for it, and we are all responsible for our actions behind the wheel and will be held accountable for the injuries and damage that are caused by not being safe and courteous drivers.”

“Emergency responders and roadside workers put themselves at risk every day to help people who are in need of emergency assistance or whose vehicles are broken down,” said Cathy Rossi, Vice President of Public and Government Affairs for AAA Mid-Atlantic. “To ensure safety, the best thing drivers can do is slow down significantly and when possible move over when they see flashing lights, further protecting emergency responders and those they are helping on the side of the road. Whether this is a police officer, ambulance, fire truck or someone fixing a tire or working on a tow, slow down, move away and change lanes to create safe space around them. Their lives are on your shoulders.”

Despite seeing several months of traffic volumes down 50 percent or more statewide, there have been 91 automobile fatalities as of October 1, which is just three less than the same time period in 2019. There have also been 19 pedestrian fatalities year-to-date, with the most recent occurring on September 30, compared to 22 at this time last year. October is designated as Pedestrian Safety Month by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.


Delaware Receives More Than $30 Million in FHWA Redistribution

The Federal Highway Administration’s (FHWA) annual August redistribution has resulted in Delaware receiving an additional $30,428,691 in federal funding for infrastructure projects. The redistribution dollars represent federal transportation improvement funds that were allocated, but not used by other states.

“We are continuing to make significant investments – more than $4.5 billion – in infrastructure projects in every part of our state over the next six years. Every additional dollar we receive builds on the largest infrastructure program in Delaware history, fixes our roads and bridges, and creates good jobs up and down our state,” said Governor John Carney.

Secretary of Transportation Jennifer Cohan commented, “These additional funds will be used to advance nine projects across the state that are in various stages of development. Applying these new federal dollars to these projects helps ease our fiscal challenges as a result of decreased revenue the Department has experienced since the onset of the pandemic.”

Projects that will benefit from the redistribution include the Route 299 widening construction project from Route 1 to Catherine Street in Middletown, the ongoing Route 141/I-95 interchange to Jay Drive construction project in New Castle, and the Route 24 at Route 5 and Route 23 intersection improvement construction project in Long Neck.

Each summer, FHWA redistributes unused funding for infrastructure programs to projects that are able to utilize the funding before the end of the federal fiscal year. Since 2012, DelDOT has secured more than $174 million in additional federal funding through the August redistribution process.


DelDOT Advisory for Tropical Storm Impact

Officials from the Delaware Department of Transportation (DelDOT), Delaware Emergency Management Agency (DEMA), and other state agencies are monitoring the forecast of Tropical Storm Isaias that could produce heavy rain, high wind gusts, and flash flooding throughout the day Tuesday. The National Weather Service has issued a tropical storm warning for the entire state with the potential for winds greater than 39 mph and several inches of rain.

Motorists should not attempt to drive through flooded roads and be alert for downed trees, wires, and other obstructions on the road as result of the wind and rain. DelDOT and its contractors will be securing equipment and materials on construction sites today, however, motorists should be cautious and aware in those areas for objects that can be blown into the roadway. Hazards can be reported to the Transportation Management Center by calling #77 when safely able to do so, which is answered 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

DelDOT will be monitoring the storm and sharing updates as necessary via social media and WTMC 1380AM and reminds motorists that headlights should be on when windshield wipers are in use and to slow down and allow more travel time during any rain event.

Additionally, DelDOT urges residents who live in areas prone to flooding to take precautions for possible evacuation and review evacuation routes which are available on DelDOT’s website.

DEMA also provides an Emergency Preparedness Checklist and for the latest weather forecasts and emergency preparedness tips, visit preparede.org.


Lifetime CDL Ban for Human Trafficking Conviction Signed Into Law

Governor John Carney has signed Senate Bill 223 into law, bringing Delaware into compliance with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s “No Human Trafficking on Our Roads Act” by creating a lifetime disqualification for a commercial driver’s license if the individual engages in human trafficking while using a motor vehicle.

Human trafficking activities have often been facilitated using commercial trucks or buses. The commercial motor vehicle industry is uniquely positioned to assist in the fight against human trafficking, by detecting and reporting this abhorrent crime. By enforcing a lifetime ban on any commercial motor vehicle driver convicted of human trafficking, this bill will send a strong message and deterrent regarding this behavior.

“Sadly, human trafficking is real and can happen in any community,” said Governor John Carney. “It’s our responsibility to continue to bring it out of the shadows and take action to stop this horrible crime. Thank you to the members of the General Assembly for their unanimous support of this important legislation.”

State Senator Stephanie L. Hansen, the lead Senate sponsor of the bill said, “My colleagues and I in the Delaware General Assembly are committed to the fight against human trafficking and bringing to justice those who profit from the misery and enslavement of others. Senate Bill 223 gives our state yet another tool for combating this vile practice on our roadways and in our communities. I commend DelDOT Secretary Jennifer Cohan for bringing this legislation to my attention and Governor John Carney for signing it into law.”

“Human trafficking is a reprehensible practice that needs to be eliminated from our society. We need to use every tool at our discretion to combat it,” said Rep. Ed Osienski, the lead House sponsor of SB 223. “By establishing a lifetime ban for commercial drivers who engage in human trafficking, we are sending a clear message that Delaware won’t tolerate this activity in our state. While I’m frustrated that such a law is necessary, I’m grateful that we are taking decisive action.”

Secretary of Transportation Jennifer Cohan added, “More than 11,000 cases of human trafficking were reported in the United States in 2019, and the number of cases not reported is surely higher. DelDOT is committed to the national effort to eradicate human trafficking and imposing severe penalties on those who participate in the exploitation of another person, period.”

Earlier this year, DelDOT also joined the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Transportation Leaders Against Human Trafficking (TLAHT), an initiative comprised of nearly 500 transportation and travel industry stakeholders working jointly to maximize their collective impact in combating human trafficking. To date, TLAHT has engaged with hundreds of organizations from across the transportation industry.

If you believe you may have information about a human trafficking situation, call the National Human Trafficking Hotline toll-free at 1-888-373-7888, text “BeFree” to 233733 or click on “live chat” at humantraffickinghotline.org.


New Christina River Bridge at Wilmington Riverfront Dedicated to Former State Senator Margaret Rose Henry

Governor John Carney was joined by state and local officials in dedicating the recently opened Christina River Bridge at the Wilmington Riverfront in honor of former state senator Margaret Rose Henry.

“Senator Margaret Rose Henry’s proud legacy of service to the people of the eastside of Wilmington and the State of Delaware has made a lasting impact,” said Governor John Carney. “The Margaret Rose Bridge that will now carry her name serves as an important connector for our communities, and as a welcoming symbol to the city.”

“Few public servants have had such a profound effect on the lives of the people of Delaware – and her Wilmington constituents in particular – as Senator Margaret Rose Henry, the first African American woman to serve in the Delaware Senate,” said Wilmington Mayor Mike Purzycki. “As a legislator, Henry was adept at building bridges, so it is only fitting that the City’s newest bridge now bears her name.”

“This new bridge is about more than simply helping people cross the Christina River. It’s about connection and opportunity. With pedestrian and bicycle lanes, this multi-modal bridge will expand access to new educational and job opportunities for drivers, bikers and pedestrians alike. By opening up the east bank of the Riverfront, this bridge will help to spur the redevelopment of the Riverfront to Southbridge and connect small businesses along the Christina River with a larger customer base. As we celebrate the ribbon cutting of this new bridge, we also celebrate what greater connection and more opportunity can do for the future of Wilmington and the people who call it home,” Senator Carper said. “For years, I fought to secure funding for this project, and I’ve been proud to watch its progress every step of the way. This is a great day for Wilmington.”

“The Senator Margaret Rose Henry Bridge will have a lasting effect on the city of Wilmington, and I’m so glad that we can honor Margaret in this special way,” said Senator Coons. “This bridge is the product of years of work, planning, and building from Senator Carper, from DelDOT, and from people across Delaware. This project improves access for walkers and bikers, and, in turn, makes Wilmington a more vibrant and safer city for all.”

“Senator Margaret Rose Henry is a personal role model and icon in the State of Delaware. Her groundbreaking work and accomplishments in the General Assembly have touched and improved the lives of countless Delawareans and the impact of that work will be felt for generations to come,” said Rep. Blunt Rochester. “Today’s unveiling of the Senator Margaret Rose Henry Bridge in Wilmington is a fitting tribute to her work and an exciting addition to the city of Wilmington. Senator Henry spent her entire career building bridges to connect Delawareans and I’m confident this bridge in her namesake will do the same.”

Secretary of Transportation Jennifer Cohan commented, “The Senator Margaret Rose Henry Bridge and new approach roads are a game changer for the south side of Wilmington, improving access and traffic flow and making the entire area safer and more user-friendly whether you are on foot, bike, or in a car. It is a beautiful bridge named after a beautiful lady!”

The nearly $82 million project, which broke ground in June 2017, includes a 470-foot multi-modal bridge over the Christina River that includes two 12-foot travel lanes and a separated 14-foot wide bicycle and pedestrian path, and more than 1.5 miles of new and improved roads, sidewalks, parking, and drainage. The new access road for the Russel W. Peterson Wildlife Refuge will begin construction later this summer.

Senator Henry became the first African American woman to serve in the Delaware Senate in 1994, and has a decades-long career of public service, working in nonprofit administration and championing legislation for causes such as education, autism, health, housing, gun control, mental health, medical marijuana and expanded services for seniors. She last served in the General Assembly in 2018.