DelDOT’s patriotic paint job is first of its kind in Delaware

Permanently installed hardware makes Rehoboth tree installation a lot easier to deal with
November 17, 2023

Story Location:
Dover Air Force Base
Dover, DE 19902
United States

Typically, this space is saved for my observations in Sussex County. However, Delaware is really split into two areas – north and south of the Chesapeake and Delaware Canal, and as long as I keep it south of the canal, I think I’m alright (I’m aware that most people in Delaware would actually say above or below the canal, but there are a lot of new folks around and I want to be clear).

That’s the case here today. I saw the news about the Delaware Department of Transportation completing the patriotic paint job on the bridge by Dover Air Force Base just in time for Veterans Day. It’s an interesting project and one unlike any other I’ve seen in the state, so I reached out to DelDOT spokesperson Charles “C.R.” McLeod for more information.

This is the first mural the department has commissioned on a bridge in the state, said McLeod. Some nonprofits have painted bridge partitions in Wilmington and a train bridge in Newark, but this is the first the department has done to his knowledge, he said.

The DelDOT bridge engineering team developed the idea in 2021, bringing it to Secretary Nicole Majeski and Deputy Secretary Shanté Hastings, who each loved the idea, said McLeod. Jerry Bedwell of the DelDOT Bridge Division created several concepts for the mural, then base leadership selected the design, he said.

This bridge was chosen for two specific reasons – it’s named in honor of Senior Airman Elizabeth Loncki, who was the first Delaware woman killed in Operation Iraqi Freedom, on Jan. 7, 2007, and it serves as the main entrance to Dover Air Force Base. DelDOT wanted to show its appreciation to all who have served past and present, said McLeod.

DelDOT only recently announced the completion of the project, but McLeod said the reaction has been largely positive. They have received hundreds of emails and social media comments, as well as inquiries about the logistics of the project from as far away as California, he said.

This project isn’t necessarily a one-off, but there are no additional murals planned at this time because of the additional costs. McLeod said this project cost just over $250,000. If funding is secured, there could be others in the future, he said.

Looking forward, McLeod said DelDOT will monitor the mural’s condition and recoat it when fading or peeling begins to occur. The contractor used paint for concrete surfaces that has been used on other bridges and traditionally holds up for 15 years before needing to be redone, said McLeod.

Planning ahead 

The Rehoboth Beach holiday tree was installed earlier this week. It didn’t go exactly as planned. The 50-foot-tall giant green arborvitae snapped just about in half when being lifted off the trailer. In the end, the tree was so large that its top half was used because it’s still a 30-foot-tall tree.

I’ve covered the installation of the tree at least half a dozen times. I’m always impressed that the city permanently installed hardware for the tree installation at the Bandstand when it did its Rehoboth Avenue streetscape project in the mid-2000s. There’s a hole for the base of the trunk and three metal loops to ratchet metal wires to.

I don’t imagine the hardware added too much cost to the project, but it sure makes the annual installation of the tree a lot easier – especially when trying to move as quickly as possible after an unplanned snapping of the tree.

Joke of the Week:

Thanksgiving is just around the corner, so here’s a Thanksgiving-themed joke. It’s a real turkey. (See what I did there? That’s two for the price of one, which in this case is nothing.) As always, send jokes to

Q: Why did the cranberries turn red?

A: Because they saw the turkey dressing.


  • Chris Flood has lived in or visited family in Delaware his whole life. He grew up in Maine, but a block of scrapple was always in the freezer of his parents’ house during his childhood. Contact him at

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