Work begins on major enhancements at Delaware Seashore State Park
REHOBOTH BEACH (Dec. 16, 2013) – Nearly $10 million worth of construction has begun on enhancements in Delaware Seashore State Park. The work, which includes major upgrades, replacements and enhancements, will be focused on the south and north sides of the Indian River Inlet. As a result, the park’s is closed for the season. The southeast day use area will be closed at a later date this winter.
The contract was awarded for $9.87 million, of which the Federal Highway Administration agreed to pay up to $7.06 million while the remaining funds came from state capital funds awarded to DelDOT. The enhancement funds were part of the original plans which were obligated because the footprint of the construction of the new Indian River Inlet Bridge utilized state park lands for bridge construction. The upgrades and enhancements replace what was taken away during construction and are designed to modernize park amenities to today’s outdoor recreation standards.
“These improvements will showcase an important part of the recreational trails and pathways we’re continuing to build,” said Governor Jack Markell. “The upgrades are enhancing what is already a great Delaware destination, making this area even more attractive to families and anyone who lives, works or visits here. All of this is good for tourism, for our economy and for the enjoyment of the people of this state.”
“The Indian River Inlet Bridge gives breathtaking views of the Delaware coastline to travelers, and the Delaware Seashore State Park project will allow the public to enjoy this scenic area once again,” said U.S. Sen. Tom Carper. “I am proud of the federal, state and local partnerships that have allowed these economic development projects, which benefit all Delawareans and tourists, to happen.”
“Delaware’s beaches so important to the economy in southern Delaware region and our entire state,” said U.S. Senator Chris Coons. “While it is vital to continue to invest in our state’s greatest natural resource, it is important to also invest in the amenities that make our beaches so memorable to those who visit. The added parking, updated bathhouses, additional camping locations and outdoor pavilions will offer a more comfortable visit for the more than one million visitors each year to our award-winning beaches.”
“Delaware beaches are already among the most popular vacation spots on the east coast, and the improvements underway at Seashore State Park will only make them better,” said U.S. Representative John Carney. “The economy in Sussex County, and across the entire state, relies heavily on tourism. This project is an investment that will bring more visitors to the state and support the many jobs and businesses in the area. I can’t wait to come back and see the finished product.”
“The investments at Delaware Seashore State Park will allow thousands of additional families to enjoy this incredible recreational jewel,” said DNREC Secretary Collin O’Mara. “From new campgrounds, trails, a new playground, and improved fishing access, to renovated bathrooms, additional parking, and better beach access, these enhancements will make this park a must see attraction for all Delawareans and visitors.”
“We are pleased to see that this phase of work is starting,” said DelDOT Secretary Shailen Bhatt. “These enhancements will complement the area around the Indian River Inlet and truly make this a destination.”
Construction will begin south of the inlet first. This will include:
- Refurbish existing south RV and tent campground
- Construct 94 family camping sites
- Renovate bathhouses
- Construct a scenic beach access
- Add a promenade along the Indian River Inlet
- Construct six new RV sites with full hook-ups
- Create a new DART Bus stop
- Replace the south inlet Day-Use parking lot and entrance
- Reconstruct south park roadways
- Create more parking for anglers
- Construct outdoor pavilions
Construction north of the inlet will begin following the south inlet refurbishments. This will include:
- Relocation and construction of a north inlet Day-Use parking lot
- Construct 221 visitor parking spaces
- Construct north RV campground and amenities
- Create an 80-space full hook-up family campground
- Construct a playground
- Enhance fishing access along the inlet
- Create direct access to the beach on the north side of the inlet
- Construct outdoor pavilions
The improvements will include refurbishing the existing campground on the south side of the bridge, as well as replacing the previous campground and day use parking area on the north side of the bridge.
Other upgrades and enhancements will include expansion for visitor parking, and construction of a scenic beach access, a promenade along the Indian River inlet replacing and updating 94 family camping sites and six new RV sites with full hookups, renovated bathhouses, a DART bus stop. Other improvements will include a playground, improved bathhouses and showers for beach users, more parking for anglers (daily), a nature walk, and outdoor pavilions.
“Not only are the north and south sides of the park now connected, new amenities will enable visitors to access and enjoy the bridge itself as a destination,” said DNREC Division of Parks and Recreation Director Ray Bivens. “Those who want to stay overnight will have plenty of options from tent camping to RV to exclusive cottages and the state-of-the-art marina, all located along the inlet within walking distance to the beach.”
Construction will take place simultaneously on the north and south sides of the bridge. The area used as a construction site on the north side will be returned to an 80-space full hook-up family campground, 221 visitor parking spaces, a playground, enhanced fishing access along the inlet, as well as direct access to the beach on the north side of the inlet.
The park’s south campground and the southeast day use area are scheduled to reopen before Memorial Day weekend in 2014.Camping reservations for 2014 will be accepted once a firm date is set for completion of the construction work.
Watch for the progress of the reconstruction work on the DelDOT and Delaware State Parks websites. The DelDOT site can be viewed athttp://www.deldot.gov/information/projects/sr1/irib_parks/ .Information on the Delaware State Parks website is found at destateparks.com/DelSeashoreMap.