Gov. Carney meets with DelDOT officials to address Bowers road flooding

BOWERS, Del. – Bowers residents say road flooding has been repeatedly blocking their only point of access for years. “Obviously, that’s a big concern for the people who live here,” said Governor John Carney. “When I come out here to look at projects like this, I think about what they mean for the people who live in this community. That’s what drives us to do this project, or almost any transportation project that we have.”

Rising Water, Increasing Concern

Those rising water levels are becoming an increasingly major issue. School busses, mail delivery trucks, and emergency vehicles are regularly halted by an impassable roadway.

“This community came to DelDOT a couple years ago, in cooperation with DNREC and the Governors Office. So, we came out and started doing some monitoring, and actually had some data to prove how significant of a concern it was,” said DelDOT Director of Transportation, Resiliency, and Sustainability, Jim Pappas. “When we saw all of that data, and said ‘Wow,’ this road at times has a foot or two feet of water.”

Experimental Engineering

DelDOT’s solution is to raise the road level by five inches with brand new, experimental engineering. Instead of building channels under the road, workers will construct the pavement it in a way that will allow water to flow through it. The project is expected to cost about $680,000, and cover about a mile of Bowers Road. “This is the first of its kind, really anywhere. This is a new material that we’re going to be using. It’s lighter, porous material it’s going to help funnel the water a little bit better,” said DelDOT Secretary Nicole Majeski.

If the project proves successful, DelDOT says they will use the method in other parts of the state, as well. Majeski says using this method, instead of repaving, could bring Delawareans more bang for their tax bucks. “We’re adding a different material type. So, it’s not a full reconstruction of the road or anything like that. So, it is a cheaper solution,” she said.

More Improvements Ahead

Gov. Carney says while this project will come from state dollars, this is just one example of improvements expected in the near future, with federal money. “Coastal resiliency projects are going to be increasingly important, particularly in the state of Delaware, one of the lowest lyring states in the country. We have a great opportunity with a the bipartisan infrastructure bill,” he said.

The project is now out for department review, according the DelDOT. Majeski says if fully approved, construction could begin in the summer or fall of 2022. Construction is expected to be complete in four to six weeks.

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