Planning roads is no small task, and the Delaware Department of Transportation is currently working to finalize its six-year budget plan with a number of projects proposed.
This autumn, the public has been invited to review DelDOT’s priorities in the Capital Transportation Program (CTP) for the 2019-2024 fiscal years (the fiscal year begins on July 1 of the previous calendar year, so the 2018 fiscal year has already begun).
Some of the biggest projects include proposed changes to intersections on Route 113 and improvements to Route 24. To improve traffic flow, DelDOT could significantly change the landscape of Route 113.
The 2.75-mile North Millsboro bypass would connect Route 113 north of town to Route 24 east of town. Preliminary engineering would continue through the 2022 fiscal year. DelDOT would begin property acquisition in 2021, and construction could begin in the 2023 fiscal year. The changes could be a big deal for beach-bound traffic heading toward Rehoboth Beach.
Grade-separated intersections are also proposed along Route 113, which would replace traffic signals and intersections with overpasses.
In Georgetown, engineering for the revamped Route 113/18/404 intersection could begin soon and take several years. DelDOT would begin purchasing land in the 2021 fiscal year and begin building in the 2023 fiscal year.
In Ellendale, the Route 113/16 overpass would begin sooner, with construction in the 2021 fiscal year.
Later in Georgetown’s future, engineering for the Route 113/9 overpass would begin around the 2022 fiscal year, but construction for that project isn’t even on the five-year plan yet.
Several overpasses are planned along Route 1, including three in Sussex County — all north of Lewes.
Now that Route 26 and Route 54 have had their turns for improvements, Route 24 between Millsboro and Rehoboth Beach is finally being targeted for relief from congestion. Engineering is under way for a series of projects that will add a center turn lane, bicycle lanes, sidewalks and intersection improvements — all of which are intended to keep traffic moving safely and smoothly.
“Hopefully, it’s going to be a big help,” said project manager Mark Whiteside. “It does take a lot of public outreach.”
DelDOT learned that the hard way when complaints rolled in from the Route 54 Mainline project around 2012. As a result, DelDOT required a public outreach coordinator for the Route 26 Mainline project, which has been deemed to have made the project smoother for all parties involved. (It was deemed so successful, in fact, that the same coordinator was specially placed in the same position for the massive Route 301 project under way in New Castle County.)
The public was also invited to comment on Sussex County’s four-year Transportation Improvement Program (CTIP) for the 2018-2021 fiscal years. In the CTIP, the county government highlights projects that it would like the State to build, but the County does not initiate or build such projects itself.
Once again, the County’s priorities include Route 1 improvements, scenic byways, local roads, intersections, bicycle/walking trails, Routes 24, 404 and 9, and more.
Much to the County’s delight, design is now under way for the realignment of Park Avenue (the U.S. Route 9 Truck Bypass near Georgetown). Not only does it need upgrades with turn lanes, shoulders and intersection improvements, but a realignment would allow Delaware Coastal Airport to expand its runway to accommodate larger planes. Road construction on that project could begin in the 2022 fiscal year.
Projects rankings in the transportation plan are based on safety, efficiency, multi-modal mobility for different types of transportation and other details. The full priority lists are online at www.deldot.gov/Publications/reports/CTP.
The public is being invited to share support or opposition to the proposed projects by contacting DelDOT Community Relations; P.O. Box 778; Dover, DE 19903 or calling (302) 760-2082. DelDOT project details are online at www.deldot.gov/information/projects.
By Laura Walter