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Delaware has a lot of guts for a state the size of a thumbtack.

Drive down Interstate 95 some time, skipping the Trenton-Philadephia portion of the highway. Take I-295/the New Jersey Turnpike towards Washington, D.C. Bring lots of dollar bills.

The Delaware Memorial Bridge takes about two minutes to drive across if you have EZ-Pass, including traffic and tolls. The toll is three dollars, or roughly seven dollars per mile, for southbound traffic only.

Four people died to build this bridge.

But the fun isn't over! Crossing the bridge puts you on the Delaware Turnpike, an additional $2.00 charge. The Delaware turnpike is only 11 miles long, resulting in a toll per mile of just under $0.19. This brings the average toll for your trip to $0.40 per mile. If I drove to the nearest big city to me at that rate (Boston, an hour-and-a-half), it would cost me $38.80, rather than the modest three dollars I shell out now. And the only place it gets me is more Delaware.

Not to rag on Delaware. Delaware's great for a state so small that my father, who is no taller than the average thousand-foot man, could stand with one foot in Maryland and one foot in New Jersey, thus enshadowing its pathetic form. Delaware's a great state -- there's no sales tax for citizens, but try to drive through it and you'll walk out having paid more than most people pay the IRS every year. My wife's engagement ring cost less than my trip through Delaware.

That said, it's a lovely highway. As soon as you leave the hell that is DE, Maryland's got some great views and toll plazas.

Some facts:

  • The bridge was designed by Othmar Ammann, who also designed the Verrazano Narrows Bridge, the Walt Whitman Bridge, and the Throgs Neck Bridge.
  • The bridge is 188 feet above the Delaware River.
  • It cost $44 million.
  • Enough cars crossed the bridge in 1964 alone to pay off its construction costs.
  • Tolls on the bridge typically earn $270,000 each day. If Delaware's government was dissolved and its citizens relocated, the bridge could pay two college tuitions a day. And the view of the wasteland would be better.
  • An oil tanker, the Regent Liverpool, crashed into the bridge. The bridge was okay.