INFORMATION

Final Design Underway

The Delaware Department of Transportation (DelDOT) announces that the Blue Ball Properties Transportation Improvement Plan recently obtained environmental clearance from the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA).

The FHWA concluded that the selected construction alternative will have no significant effect on the human, social, or natural environment. This environmental clearance, or Finding of No Significant Impact (FONSI), is based on DelDOT's Final Environmental Assessment dated July 2001. FHWA has granted the FONSI after review and approval of the Environmental Assessment (EA) on February 1, 2002.

Coordination with the regulatory agencies, which included the Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control (DNREC), Delaware State Historic Preservation Office (DESHPO), United States Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA), Army Corps of Engineers (ACOE) and New Castle County (NCC), played a crucial part in the environmental process and completion of the EA report. These agencies participated in regular coordination meetings conducted throughout the development of the EA, ensuring that the project addressed environmental issues under their jurisdiction. Ultimately any comments made by the agencies on the EA were taken into consideration by FHWA in making the final decision to issue the FONSI.

"This commemorates the beginning of the implementation phase of this landmark project," Secretary Hayward explained. "The Blue Ball Properties project is important to the State for many reasons: Long sought transportation improvements are being completed. Economic development needs are being met in conjunction with major recreation and historic preservation activities. This represents the most ambitious and complex public-private venture ever undertaken in Delaware and could not have happened without the partnership of the three agencies. All too often, groups associated with the transportation network and economic development needs seem to work in opposition to historic preservation and recreation groups. Hopefully, this model shall now be the normal way of doing business, not only within Delaware, but nationally."

The first phase of the project commenced on Monday, March 4, with the closing of Rockland Road from Route 202 to the Ronald McDonald House near Children's Drive. This will permit the firm of Greggo and Ferrera to remove a stockpile of material at the corner of Route 202 and Rockland Road. The next construction phase of the Blue Ball Properties Project is scheduled to begin early in the summer. That phase will include construction of a regional stormwater management system, landscaping, stream restoration, greenway connections and a temporary six-lane roadway.

Due to the road closure motorists are advised to take Route 141 to Children's Drive to Rockland Road. Access to the Alfred I. DuPont Children's Hospital will be available via Children's Drive. For related information, including traffic conditions, visit DelDOT's website at www.deldot.net or tune-in to WTMC-AM, 1380.