York, PA contractor low bidder for I-95, Route 896 project


While the focus has been on the Interstate 95 overhaul through Wilmington, another sizable projects has flown under the radar until now.

This month, the low bid was announced for a complex interchange project at Interstate 95 and Route 896 at the edge of Newark. Work is expected to get underway in May, according to the successful bidder, Wagman.

York, PA-based Wagman Heavy Civil, Inc. was the low bidder for the project at $179.5 million. Omaha-based Kiewit Infrastructure Co., contractor for the Wilmington. I-95 project had the highest of the four bids at $269.2 million. Total value of the project is estimated at $224 million.

No Delaware heavy-highway contractors placed bids.

Wagman is a family-owned construction company. A division of the company was the contractor for the Claymont railway station off I-95.


Pedestrian and bicycle lane

The project includes ramp realignments and other improvements to address congestion and safety issues on both I-95 and 896. The work will take just short of three and a half years to complete.

A Wagman release noted that the project was bid as an A+B, which is a procurement method that determines the best value by evaluating both the construction cost (A = $224 millon) plus the total proposed duration (B = $60 million). The A+B is designed to reduce construction delays

The design features the addition of six new structures, 10 MSE retaining walls, as well as a shared-use path for pedestrians and bicyclists, roadway widening for ramps, and the creation of new through lanes.

The current exits and ramps have multiple issues that include a large number of merge-related traffic accidents and an inability for motorists headed south to access high-speed toll lanes near the Maryland line.

Recent preparations for the project led to criticism when trees were cleared to make way for future work.

The 896-I-95 work will follow a much smaller project at I-95 and Route 273 that includes a traffic flight for those using the southbound exit. That project is expected to be completed by November.

A related project in the area replaced a bridge on Chapman Road over I-95. Demolition of the old bridge during the evening hours led to numerous inquiries from nearby residents.

Wilmington I-95 project nears completion

The I-95 Wilmington project, slated for completion this spring, is ahead of schedule. That project faced challenges including speeding through the construction zone and numerous accidents during construction. The state, on a one-time basis, used speed cameras through the construction zone.

Costs of the 896-I-95 project have risen over the planning period, with the state’s Congressional delegation able to gain additional funding. Major projects typically get 80% of their financing from the federal government and the remainder from the state.

The need to deal with a deteriorating 60-year-old stretch of the interstate through Delaware has led to numerous projects.

Delaware has been able to stretch gas tax revenues for major projects through tolls and other methods. The federal government gave the state a regulatory break in allowing traffic to build on the Route 301 toll road that bypasses fast-growing Middletown.

The state’s low gas tax is said to help to some extent with out-of-state commuters and travelers filling up their tanks here.

“We have been tracking this critical project for over two years and are excited to begin construction,” states Greg Andricos, President and COO of Wagman Heavy Civil. “We look forward to working with the DelDOT, Century Engineering, and all of our project partners to make this vision come to life.”

Wagman has been making infrastructure improvements along the I-95 corridor in the last several years. Past and current projects have included: I-95 in Virginia over the Meherrin and Rappahannock Rivers, Maryland’s I-95/I-495 Woodrow Wilson Bridge approaches, and I-95/I-695 repair of Ten Bridges; Maryland’s I-95 Deck Rehabilitation of 28 bridges in Baltimore and its Express Toll Lanes program including the I-95/I-695 and MD 152 Interchange reconstruction projects.

See earlier story below.