DelDOT lays out transportation plans through 2023 fiscal year

Date Published: 
October 14, 2016

Good planning starts early, so people recently got a look at Delaware’s six-year Capital Transportation Program (CTP) for the 2018-2023 fiscal years.

Billions of state and federal dollars could go into Delaware’s transportation system during that time, so public hearings in each county were jointly sponsored by the Council on Transportation and the Delaware Department of Transportation (DelDOT).

Sussex Countians were able to review the proposed transportation plans and give feedback on what they think the priorities are at a workshop on Sept. 28 in Georgetown.

“We have all kinds of ideas what to do” but need citizen input on what’s important, said Josh Thomas of DelDOT.

Should DelDOT install more bike paths, stop signs or alternate routes? Citizens who have such ideas, or others, can speak up.

One couple in attendance lived just east of the Indian River in Millsboro. They’re ready for a Route 113 bypass to alleviate traffic problems, and they shared stories of Route 24 congestion.

People entered the hall to find a list of 102 projects that DelDOT is considering in the next five years, statewide. DelDOT ranks the projects based on impacts on road safety, pedestrian safety, congestion and other factors. Projects are laid out through the year 2023, all at different points in the process of engineering, land acquisition and construction.

For instance, Sussex County’s highest-ranking project is No. 6 on DelDOT’s priority list: grade-separated intersections at Route 113 and Route 9.

Major Millsboro projects

The future North Millsboro bypass, which will connect Routes 113 and 24, is ranked No. 57 at this time. The current cost estimate (from the 2017 to 2023 fiscal years) is $84 million, of which Delaware and the federal government would pay a 20/80 split. It’s finally beginning, with engineering for the next four years, then actual land purchase starting around 2021. Construction could potentially begin around 2022.

DelDOT also showcased several upcoming projects, including improvements in downtown Millsboro at Iron Branch Road/State Street (between Ellis Street and River Drive).

The safety project will move utility poles off the road, reconstruct sidewalks and curbing, replace streetlights, resurface the pavement and more.

Construction on that project will last about seven months, starting in March of 2017. There will be no nighttime work, at the request of the Town of Millsboro. Drivers and pedestrians can expect detours during the daytime, but the project will be done in phases, so detours shouldn’t extend very far.

Another project is farther down Route 24, toward Oak Orchard and Long Neck. Turn lanes will be added or lengthened at Route 24 intersections at Mount Joy Road and Bay Farm Road. Some sidewalk and new paving is also proposed.

DelDOT is currently purchasing the necessary property to expand the road, and construction may begin in fall of 2018. The project is part of the Highway Safety Improvement Program (HSIP), and it ranked No. 15 on the CTP priority list.

Details about other DelDOT projects are online at www.deldot.gov/information/projects.

The CTP website is at www.deldot.gov/information/pubs_forms/CTP/index.shtml.

People can always submit comments or get information by contacting DelDOT Community Relations; P.O. Box 778; Dover, DE 19903 or calling 1-800-652-5600 (in Delaware) or (302) 760-2080.

Sussex County plans

Sussex County makes its own requests to the Capital Transportation Program. Some requests are from constituents, and some requests are issues that have been observed by officials, said Sussex County Chief of Public Information Chip Guy. What gets built all depends on what money is available.

The County’s top three priorities are congestion on east-west corridors, such as Routes 26, 24 and 404; Route 1 pedestrian safety and traffic flow; and moving/improving Park Avenue (Truck Route 9) to accommodate a longer runway at the Georgetown’s Delaware Coastal Airport.

This year, Sussex County has also requested improvements in biking and walking trails; alternative transportation, such as the DART First State bus service in Millsboro, Selbyville, Long Neck and other job centers; intersections and signals; and north-south highways.

Local road requests include improvements to Fred Hudson Road near Bethany Beach, to address flooding; on Double Bridges Road near Ocean View, for shoulders and a bike path; median crossovers for EMS on Route 113; separate bike/pedestrian paths at the viaduct on Fenwick Island’s Route 54; paving at Dagsboro’s Piney Neck Road and Fox Run Road, as well as Millsboro’s Godwin School Road; shoulders at Central Avenue, Old Mill Road and Railway Road near Millville and Ocean View; and much more across the county.

Separate from the CTP request, Sussex County is working on its own Comprehensive Plan update. It’s a plan for a growth, preservation and development up to the year 2045 (including a section on transportation). Public input is being requested to help county leaders make decisions. Comments made earlier are more likely to be impactful, so citizens are being strongly encouraged to complete a survey with their ideas for the future, at www.sussexplan.com.