Earlier this week the Millsboro Town Council voted unanimously to revisit potentially creating an ordinance to restrict truck traffic though its downtown area.
The idea was first presented by councilman Greg Hastings at the October meeting, where he stated that the town needed to take a proactive approach to solving the traffic issues.
Hastings suggested route with the “closest, nearest possible route” to detour traffic would require taking Route 30 at the intersection of Route 24, turning onto Morris Mill Road to Zoar Road.
“Then you have two alternatives: cut across, go by Bethesda Church [Stockley Road], or go up to the racetrack.”
Chad Lingenfelder who lives on Zoar Road presented the council with a petition with over 20 signatures against the suggested route. Instead he suggested a route around Betts Pond be looked into.
“We feel it would be the best way to do that,” he said.
Hastings said that the development of Plantation Lakes, a community located west of Route 113 is estimated to be at full capacity in 16 years, essentially doubling the town’s current size, with many residents traveling to the beaches via Route 24.
“How are they going to get there? One little river, one little bridge,” he said. “It’s time, folks. DelDOT (Delaware Department of Transportation) projection says that by 2030 the traffic going through Millsboro is going to double… What’s going to happen on the road that you live on? We need a solution.”
Hastings asked the council for their input on how to define trucks, asking if “dual-axel” would suffice.
Councilman John Thoroughgood agreed the town has traffic issues but questioned whether or not Hastings’ solution would work.
“The town has issues with traffic, I don’t know that stopping all truck traffic would help,” he said. Adding traffic issues occur at 7 a.m., lunchtime, and 4 p.m. “You can sit here and watch them… It’s not a truck in that group.”
He added that as someone who owns his own business that requires him to drive a truck, he doesn’t believe the suggested route would be appropriate.
“I do that run. You can do it with a 10-wheeler but I wouldn’t want to do it with a tractor trailer.”
Thoroughgood said that such an ordinance would extend his drive time significantly.
“I would have to go 20 miles out of my way, when it’s 2 miles from my business,” he said. “You can’t increase your rates because you have to go around the horn. I don’t think if you just stop truck traffic it’s going to stop anything outside of upset Mountaire.”
He added that he wants to hear from state officials regarding the proposed Blue Alternative Route, which would solve the traffic issue if it were constructed.
“I don’t understand where our legislators are going with all of this,” he said. “I don’t think they’re honest with us… We’ve been 8 years studying this road.”
Thoroughgood added that the alternative route was to be funded by the Federal Government, who said that the whole route would have to be done to be approved.
“Dagsboro don’t want it. If Dagsboro don’t want it, that’s fine. But the federal government is telling us, ‘it’s all or nothing.’ Millsboro will take it to 24, don’t force Dagsboro to have it.”
“We all know what’s going on politically. Quite frankly it’s not fair,” agreed Hastings.
The town plans to meet with DelDOT officials on Dec. 2 and continue their discussion at the January meeting.
Hastings said that he is not pleased with the idea of rerouting the traffic, and doesn’t believe it’s the perfect solution for the town.
“We all know how DelDOT works. They’re reactive, not proactive. They’re not going to change the road just because. They’re going to have to react to what Millsboro does. I don’t like the idea folks… This is the best we can offer. I don’t like it any better than any of you do.”
“Just stopping the trucks is not the end-all solution however it will help,” added councilman Tim Hodges.