Those driving down Muddy Neck Road will need to slow down a good 10 mph, after the Delaware Department of Transportation (DelDOT), at the request of the Ocean View Police Department, recently lowered the speed limit.
The section of road that once had a speed limit of 45 mph — between Woodland Avenue and Double Bridges Road — is now limited at 35 mph.
“We had a concern raised by some residents in Ocean View about Muddy Neck Road, that the speed limit was just too fast,” said Ocean View Police Chief Ken McLaughlin.
“At the same time, we were dealing with a new construction project taking place on the corner of Muddy Neck and Double Bridges that’s going to include a number of townhouses, as well as a commercial strip. Something like 12 acres is designated as commercial, so it’s going to be a fairly prominent commercial presence there in the future.”
With construction under way on Ocean View Beach Club, along with more and more people using Muddy Neck as a “back way” to the beach, traffic — and traffic safety — is an increasing concern on the road.
“A lot of the seasonal students and workers are renting places in Plantation Park, and some of the other areas off of Muddy Neck Road, so the bicycle and pedestrian traffic has increased on that corridor significantly as well,” McLaughlin added.
After the OVPD reached out to DelDOT this fall regarding their concerns, a traffic impact study was conducted.
“Their study concurred with what we were thinking: that, because of all the growth in the area and the potential growth —especially the commercial portion we’re going to see — it was very reasonable to decrease the speed,” he said.
“The stretch there was 45, but on either side of that zone was 35, so this is going to keep it at a consistent speed of 35 mph through that whole stretch. Then, toward the end, where you get closer to Bethany and closer to Ocean View, it drops down to 30 mph.”
McLaughlin said it was definitely the right call, noting that he was sitting along Muddy Neck the morning before Thanksgiving and saw a great many pedestrians using the roadway.
“It’s amazing how much traffic is on that road… how many people are jogging and how many people are biking — even on a cold November morning.”
The posted speed limit signs have already been changed, and the department’s portable speed trailer is also on the road to remind drivers to slow down more than they’re used to doing.
“There’s going to be a grace period of probably a good two months or so where officers are writing warnings instead of speeding tickets; however, if someone is going really fast — fast enough that they would’ve gotten a speeding ticket in the 45 through there — they still may get a ticket.”
McLaughlin said the change was a proactive approach to addressing the speed on the roadway.
“We wanted to be proactive and not wait until there was a bad accident or something before we lowered the speed limit,” he said. “It’s something we’ve been watching over the last few years. The time to do it is now; there’s just too much growth that’s impacting the community now.”
By Maria Counts