Still Growing – A new Riverfront Wilmington bridge will provide better access

A new bridge is just the next step in the continuous improvements to the Wilmington riverfront, easing pedestrian and traffic congestion and allowing expansion of the riverfront attractions.

Read the original article from Delaware Today.

Riverfront Wilmington has grown from Wasteland to Want Land, bustling with vitality.

Visitors will find everything from A to Z, from the arts to zesty dishes at waterfront restaurants, with the added benefit of indoor and outdoor recreation, major workplaces, ready access to public transportation and homes to rent or buy.

And, after 20 years of planned development, the Riverfront is still growing.

Construction on a bridge across the Christina River will begin by late 2016. The bridge will help commuters by easing congestion and also will become a conduit for expanding the Riverfront across the city’s principal waterway to south Wilmington. 

Traffic should start flowing sometime in 2019. The Delaware Department of Transportation estimates the project’s price tag between $30 million to $35 million.

“The bridge will provide residents and visitors with better access in and out of the district, plus open the other side for development,” says Megan McGlinchey, acting executive director of the Riverfront Development Corporation.

Motorists can expect a major improvement in traffic flow, enabling visitors heading in from the east and south to access the Riverfront without having to loop north onto Martin Luther King Boulevard and backtrack south on Justison Street. The bridge will have one lane in each direction to accommodate cars and other motor vehicles, bicycles and pedestrians.

Currently, about 1,400 people live on the Riverfront. Another 7,000 people work there at such major businesses as AAA Mid-Atlantic, Capital One and Barclaycard, as well as smaller firms, including Mitchell Associates, an architectural firm with longtime ties to the district. 

planned bridge

Lou Rosenberg, Mitchell principal, notes that the firm was a pioneer, setting up shop on the Riverfront in 1985, followed by the Delaware Theatre Company in 1986.

“There’s quite a difference, with people walking around,” he says. “In the beginning, it was kind of lonely, with no place to go to lunch. Now we have lots of choices about where we go to eat. Riverfront Market is packed every day.”

Buccini/Pollin, a major developer, is building phase two of the Residences at Harlan Flats, a luxury midrise apartment complex on Justison Street. The second phase will add 76 units to the 116 units and pool built in 2015 during the first phase of construction.

Frawley Stadium will get its biggest upgrade in 15 years, with 5,000 new seats. The project includes installing individual seats in the reserved sections, replacing aluminum benches.

For the 2017 season, plans include a concourse built beyond the outfield fence. The concourse would provide additional recreation besides watching minor league baseball, including play areas for children.

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