The U.S. 301 toll road is on schedule for a January 2016 construction start and projected project completion date of December 2018. A $211.3 million federal loan will cover roughly a third of the overall $643 million project, with construction costs expected to total $471 million.
U.S. 301 would be the first new toll road opened in Delaware since first leg of Del. 1 in 1993. The future toll road seeks to become a safer, less congested alternate route for long-distance drivers, especially truck drivers, which represent approximately 23% of vehicles currently using U.S. 301 at the Delaware-Maryland line.
Construction plans include an electronic tolling system that will rely on both E-ZPass transponders as well as a "pay-by-plate" system that captures images of auto tags and bills drivers. Initially, cars would pay $4 and trucks $11 for a full-distance trip, with truck tolls accounting for an estimated 56% of revenues.
Delaware Transportation Secretary Jennifer Cohan said the federal loan reflects federal confidence in DelDOT's financial projections. The low-interest federal offer includes a five-year delay on interest payments and 10-year delay on the start of principal repayments, allowing time for the toll road to build traffic and cash reserves.