The Jack Markell Trail, an 8 mile long bike trail in Delaware between the Wilmington Riverfront and old New Castle is scheduled to open in June with a ceremony celebrating it on July 14th. The trail will be part of the East Coast Greenway, a trail from Calais, Maine, to Key West, Florida, that passes through the DC area. It will feature a 345 foot long bridge over the Christina River.
The 345-foot bicycle and pedestrian bridge is the longest bicycle and pedestrian bridge to be built in the state. The new span completes a seven-mile segment of the [East Coast Greenway] from Wilmington to New Castle.
“It’s a pretty dramatic improvement to our route,” says Mid-Atlantic Coordinator Daniel Paschall. “The Northern Delaware Greenway is a gem, and that brings you into Wilmington and the Riverwalk. Now you’ll pass through the beautiful Russell W. Peterson Urban Wildlife Refuge, cross the Christina, and travel on the Jack Markell Trail to New Castle, which is an extraordinary colonial town.” The bridge opens to the public this summer and will be celebrated officially on July 14 with Trailfest. Funding for the bridge and miles of new trail has come from a collaboration of regional, state, and federal sources and was championed by the new trail’s namesake, former Governor Jack Markell.
"We joke that during times when traffic is so bad on 95, you might be able to bike from Old New Castle to Wilmington much faster than you can make it in a car," said Jeff Niezgoda, DelDOT's assistant director for local system improvement programs.
It's funny because it's true. The $23 million project built on the ROW of the old Delaware Division of the PW&B Railroad also includes a 2,300-foot boardwalk across marshland, and a smaller bridge on Little Mill Creek that leads to the DuPont Environmental Education Center and the Riverfront.
Further south, the trail will connect with an existing 1.4-mile path that stretches to Old New Castle.
Eighty percent of the bridge and trail costs were covered by the U.S. Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality Improvement Program
By summer 2019, another bridge across the Christina River will be finished further down the riverwalk.
This new 470-foot multi-modal bridge over the Christina River will include two (2-12’) travel lanes and shoulders, as well as a 14’ wide bicycle/pedestrian path. The path will connect to the Riverfront walkway as well as other bicycle/pedestrian facilities in the area. The project extends from the area near Frawley Stadium across the Christina River to its east bank in the vicinity of Market Street/Walnut Street split of Business US 13.