PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Are you about to hit the roads for the holiday weekend? You might want to avoid I-95 in Delaware, which could become one of the nation’s worst traffic bottlenecks this Christmas.
That’s the message directly from DelDOT officials, who say traffic at the Newark toll booth could grow to nightmarish proportions.
The toll booth, near the Maryland state line, is in the middle of a year-long reconstruction project to add high-speed EZ-Pass lanes and expand cash lanes. Eventually, it should be an improvement, but right now, traffic is undoubtedly worse.
By midday Thursday, northbound delays already stretched as far as the eye could see.
“It was murder,” said Anthony Potts, driving from Bowie, Maryland to New York. “It took us a good 40 minutes to get through that toll.”
“We were googling the Amtrak fares, because we were thinking about getting off and getting on the train,” said Barbara Barrett, who’s also on her way to New York.
The day before Thanksgiving, DelDOT officials decided to waive the tolls for eight hours to move traffic more quickly. At that time, the back-up extended 12 miles. They are advising drivers to find alternate routes this weekend, at least around the toll plaza. Jim Agiesta drove I-95 840 miles from Florida and said the Delaware back-up was “the worst part” of the trip.
“It’s for the better,” said DelDOT spokesman Bob King. “Down the line, it’s going to be easier, quicker and more efficient.”
Officials say the $32.6 million project should be finished by next summer, which means this is the only holiday season it disrupts.
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Reported by Ben Simmoneau, CBS 3