NPR I-95 series looks at Delaware travel plaza, Maine

James Lin's I-95 sign, circa 1995That’s No Rest Stop, It’s A ‘Travel Plaza’NPR
The second weekend of I-95: The Road Most Traveled features a look at the Delaware Welcome Center Travel Plaza that was recently reopened. The old service plaza was pretty bad and I only went to it a few times over the years. Typically, if I need to stop on that part of the journey I do so off Interstate 95 in either Newark, Del. or Elkton, Md. (wink wink). If I did stop at a service area, it would usually be the Maryland ones, Maryland House and Chesapeake House. Those, especially Maryland House, were better than the Delaware one. I blogged about upgrades to them in 2006.

The new travel plaza is operated by HMS Host. Liane Hansen was very disappointed there isn’t a penny crushing machine because HMS Host wanted the features to include human interactions. That may mean the arcade is gone too — I remember one of my cousins saying they always stopped there when they came down to visit us. I’ll see what I can find out Tom.

Rest areas with restaurants and gasoline stations have been banned since the 1960s because they discourage local business. They only appeared on toll roads like the turnpikes in Delaware, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, etc.

The report mentions that the stretch of I-95 in Delaware is the John F. Kennedy Memorial Highway. Kennedy attended the dedication of the Delaware Turnpike and Maryland’s Northeast Expressway just a week before he was assassinated in 1963. In 1964 the roadway in both states was named after him, but Delaware has stuck to using “Delaware Turnpike” on signs. Also, the roads were toll roads because the Eisenhower administration got into a disagreement with the states over that part of I-95. In the long-run, I think both states are probably thrilled that the highway is tolled.

Northernmost Maine? I-95 Won’t Get You There
The original plans for what became I-95 in Maine had a highway running to the northern part of the state. However, when the interstate highway system showed up, that plan got truncated and I-95 ends at the Canadian border about 10 miles from the Trans-Canada Highway.

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