Del. SC: Wal-Mart Drive may be built

John O'Brien Mar. 29, 2007, 4:31pm


DOVER, Del. - The Delaware Department of Transportation's decision to use public funds to construct and improve a road that was alleged to only serve a private purpose was constitutional, the state's Supreme Court decided Thursday.

Woodwerx, a home-building company, challenged the creation of Wal-Mart Drive, a road that will pass through the 204-home and 38-townhouse subdivision of Newell's Creek while providing access to two shopping centers, Camden Town Center and Camden Station.

Woodwerx said the DOT's usage of public funds for the project was unconstitutional because the road was being constructed for a private purpose.

On Aug. 24, the trial court decided that wasn't the case and dismissed the suit. Thursday, the Supreme Court affirmed in an order written by Justice Jack Jacobs.

"Cutting through the extraneous facts and commentary alleged in its submissions, Woodwerx's core claim is that DelDOT acted without the proper grant of authority required by... the Delaware Constitution," the order says.

"If DelDOT acted without proper authority, then any use of public monies to build Wal-Mart Drive would be unconstitutional because (Woodwerx contends) the road serves primarily a private purpose. Woodwerx's argument lacks merit."

It adds that, "Woodwerx cites no authority holding that the construction of a public road, on a public right of way, for use by the public, is not a valid public purpose. Indeed, courts of other jurisdictions have recognized that road construction is a valid public purpose."

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