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The Delaware Turnpike also known as the John F. Kennedy Memorial Highwayis an 11.2 mile (18.0 km) tolled highway that lies entirely within the State of Delawaremarker. Running in a general southwest to northeast direction, paralleling nearby U.S. Route 40, the highway connects the cities of Baltimoremarker and Washington, D.C.marker with Philadelphiamarker (via I-95) and New York Citymarker (via the New Jersey Turnpike). It is the most expensive toll road in the United States based on a cost-per-mile average.

The Delaware Turnpike was built between 1960 and 1963 and was dedicated by President John F. Kennedy on November 15, 1963, just one week before his assassination in the Dallas motorcademarker. The highway is designated as Interstate 95 between the Marylandmarker State Line and Newport, Delawaremarker and as Interstate 295 between Newport and the Farnhurst interchange with U.S. Routes 13 and 40. It is owned and maintained by the Delaware Department of Transportation (DelDOT).


Early history

The history of the Delaware Turnpike goes back to the 1950s when the Delaware Memorial Bridge, the Chesapeake Bay Bridgemarker, and the New Jersey Turnpike were opened between 1953 and 1957. Originally, the State of Delaware wanted to build a four-lane toll highway that paralleled the present-day U.S. 13/40 highway in New Castle, Delawaremarker, connecting to a corresponding toll highway in Maryland in what is now U.S. Route 301. With the formation of the Interstate Highway System, the predecessor of the present-day DelDOT and the Maryland Transportation Authority decided to build a route that would provide a more direct connection with Baltimore and Washington, D.C.

Because of a fallout between the governors of both Delaware and Maryland and the Eisenhower Administration, both the MTA and DelDOT decided to build their sections of I-95, but unlike the earlier Pennsylvania and New Jersey Turnpikes, the Delaware Turnpike and John F. Kennedy Memorial Highway in Maryland would be built up to the Interstate Highway standards of its day. Unlike the narrow median strip of the Pennsylvania Turnpike or the Jersey barrier of the New Jersey Turnpike, both the Delaware Turnpike and John F. Kennedy Memorial Highway featured wide median barriers (since narrowed due to road expansion projects), (at the time of completion) two wide travel lanes, and a unified exit numbering system. Three service plazas, two in Maryland and one near Newark, Delawaremarker, straddle the middle of the roadway.

The Delaware Turnpike served as one of few examples of the building of a toll highway in the era of the building of a nationwide Interstate Highway network. Other highway authorities, including the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission and the New Jersey Turnpike Authority, had highway expansion projects in the planning stages when the Interstate Highway Act was signed, but were dropped in favor of the Interstate Highway system, with most of the former planned Pennsylvania Turnpike routes becoming outright Interstate Highways in their own right. With federal funds given to both Maryland and Delaware under both the Kennedy and Johnson Administrations, all other sections of I-95 in Maryland (between the Capital Beltway and Baltimore) and Delaware (between the Delaware Turnpike and the Pennsylvaniamarker State Line) were built as non-tolled freeways.

Extensions studied

In the 1970s, DelDOT studied a plan to rebuild U.S. Route 13 into a so-called "Dover Extension" that would connect the main highway with the state capital with a high-speed roadway. Local opposition, especially farmers, killed the original "Dover Extension" project but it would be resurrected in the 1980s and would become the Korean War Veterans Memorial Highway (signed as Delaware Rt. 1), which was completed by DelDOT in 2000.

Another extension, using most of the original Chesapeake Bay Bridge/Delaware Memorial Bridge route and signed as U.S. 301, would have used what is now Delaware Route 896 between Newark and Summit Bridge, Delaware and a new right-of-way parallel to, but west of Delaware Rt. 896 between Summit Bridge and the present-day U.S. Rt. 301 highway in Maryland. Despite the high hopes of this U.S. 301 extension being built (the Summit Bridgemarker itself and its approaches, completed in 1960, was built to highway standards), local opposition forced DelDOT to abandoned its plans for the U.S. 301 extension in the 1990s, resurrecting it in 2006 as the planned relocation of US 301 that will connect the present-day U.S. 301 highway in Maryland with the Delaware Rt. 1 Turnpike near St. Georges, Delawaremarker.


The Delaware Turnpike is the most expensive toll road in the United States, based on cost-per-mile average. Effective October 1, 2007, tolls on the Delaware Turnpike are $4.00 in each direction; 35.7 cents per mile (increasing from $3.00, or 26.8 cents for mile), collected at the Newark toll plaza near the Maryland state line. Like most toll highways in the northeast U.S., toll collection is done either with cash fare or with E-ZPass electronic toll collection. Prior to 1982, tolls were collected on the Delaware Turnpike's three exits (Delaware Rt. 896, Delaware Rt. 273, and Delaware Rts. 1 & 7), but have since been removed, their former locations marked with straight wide sections on entrance or exit ramps where the tolls were collected.


opened with a total of four travel lanes (two in each direction), the highway currently has a total of eight travel lanes between the mainline toll plaza and the Del. Turnpike-Del. Rt. 1/7 interchange, and ten travel lanes (five in each direction) between the Del. Rt. 1/7 interchange and the triple interchange with I-295, the I-95 freeway to Wilmington, Delawaremarker, and I-495 to the Port of Wilmington and Philadelphia, making it one of the widest roadways in the Philadelphia Metropolitan Area (a distinction held by I-76 between the Walt Whitman Bridgemarker and I-295 and New Jersey Route 42 in Camden, New Jerseymarker). A short three-lane section of the highway exists between the mainline toll plaza and the Maryland State Line, but with the planned toll plaza total rebuild project, both DelDOT and the MdTA have plans of expanding their corresponding highways between the toll plaza and Maryland Route 279 to eight lanes, eliminating traffic snarls that plague the highway.

The fifth lane, added in 2008, is part of an expansion project that was started by DelDOT in 2005 with the eventual goal of rebuilding the Del. Turnpike-Del. Rt. 1/7 interchange from its current "classic cloverleaf" configuration to a new configuration featuring multi-lane high-speed (45 to 55 mph) flyover ramps similar in nature to the flyover ramps being designed for the proposed interchangemarker between I-95 and the Pennsylvania Turnpike near Bristol, Pennsylvaniamarker. Since the opening of the added lanes in Fall 2008, DelDOT has been able to better handle heavy traffic between Wilmington and Churchmans Crossingmarker during peak travel times, although some traffic backups still occur due to the ramp restrictions.


A full-service plaza, The Delaware House located between the Del. Rt. 896 and Del. Rt. 273 interchanges, had both food, gas, and bathroom services, along with an information center located near the north entrance. Food services included a Bob's Big Boy, Roy Rogers (one of the few remaining in the Philadelphia Metro Area), Sbarro pizzeria, and a Starbucks. Fuel services were provided by Sunoco (formerly Mobil) which occupied a plot at southern end of the plaza, Exxon had a station at the northern end that has since closed.

The plaza was maintained by Host Marriott Services (HMS) through an agreement with the State of Delaware and provided the same services to the service plaza owned by the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission, the New Jersey Turnpike Authority (which includes the Garden State Parkway) and the South Jersey Transportation Authority (for the Atlantic City Expressway).

On September 3, 2008 the Delaware Department of Transportation (DelDOT) announced that in the Spring 2009 construction would begin on a new travel plaza on the same site currently used by the Delaware House Service Area which will be demolished prior to the start of construction. The new center will include a main facility of approximately , and a gas facility of , including a convenience store, 21 fuel pumps and will also include high-speed diesel fuel dispensers. On September 3, 2009, DelDOT announced that Delaware House would close on September 8, so that construction could begin on the new welcome center, with a planned opening as soon as Summer 2010.


Prior to 1982, the Delaware Turnpike shared an exit numbering system with that of the John F. Kennedy Memorial Highway in Marylandmarker, which has since become a non-toll highway (except at the Millard E.marker Tydings Memorial Bridgemarker, in which a one-way toll [northbound] is still charged). The exit numbers adopted after 1982 are similar to those used on most Northeastern Interstate highways, and unlike the Korean War Veterans Memorial Highway (Delaware Route 1), are numbered sequentially. A median service area with several gas stations and restaurants exists between exits 1 & 3. Also, ramp tolls existed on Exits 1, 3, and 4 (on ramps exiting southbound or entering northbound), but were removed in 1976 (the only evidence of their existence are straight, wide sections on these ramps). There are talks on reinstating the ramp tolls at Exits 1 and 3 in the future to pay for a major upgrade project at Exit 4 to replace the current "classic cloverleaf" interchange with that using high-speed ramps, along with widening the highway between Exit-4 and the I-295 junction with an additional lane in each direction.

There is no Exit-2. That never-built exit was to have connected to either a new U.S. Route 301 bypass around Newark that would have allowed U.S. Rt. 301 to connect with U.S. Route 1 (its parent highway) in Pennsylvaniamarker or the proposed Pike Creek Expressway.

County Municipality Mile, # Destinations Notes
Southern terminus of Delaware Turnpike
Interstate 95 continues from the John F. Kennedy Memorial Highway in Marylandmarker
New Castlemarker Newarkmarker .54 Toll Plaza: $4.00
2.34 1
Christianamarker 5.10 Delaware House Service Area Left exit; located in center median
6.63 3
7.89 4A , Mall Road
8.13 4B
Newportmarker 10.56 5A , New Castle County Airportmarker
11.50 5B
11.75 , Philadelphiamarker North end of I-95 overlap
South end of I-295 overlap
Farnhurst 1.93 , New Castle Airportmarker milepost reflects distance of I-295 measured by Delaware River and Bay Authority
Northern terminus of Delaware Turnpike
I-295 and US 40 continue toward Delaware Memorial Bridge and New Jersey Turnpike


  1. Delaware Code Online
  2. Delaware DOT - New I-95 Welcome Center Travel Plaza to Open in 2010
  3. Delaware DOT - Delaware Welcome Center Travel Plaza CLOSES TUESDAY for Renovations
  4. Delaware Department of Transportation|DelDOT 2006 Traffic Count and Mileage Report

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