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DelDOT plan would improve truck bypass around Georgetown

Project offers upgraded intersections, space to expand runway
November 8, 2017

Story Location:
South Bedford Street
Park Avenue
Georgetown  Delaware
United States

State transportation officials say the Park Avenue relocation project will make the truck bypass around Georgetown safer.

The preferred alternative was unveiled during an Oct. 18 workshop at the Delaware Department of Transportation office in Georgetown.

Park Avenue is an eastern bypass of Georgetown from Route 9 to South Bedford Street. It currently runs parallel to the county's Delaware Coastal Airport.

DelDOT officials said relocation of the roadway will allow for extension of the airport's main runway and will provide a continuous truck route from Route 9 to Route 113. Included in the project are 10-foot shoulders, new turn lanes at intersections, street lights and a new signalized intersection.

The new route cuts out a piece of the existing roadway, drops to the east and eventually intersects with Arrow Safety Road and connects directly to Route 113. Cost of the project is $33.8 million with construction expected to begin in spring 2020 and take two years, said DelDOT engineer George Spadafino.

A new traffic signal will be installed at the Park Avenue/Arrow Safety Road/South Bedford Street intersection, and improvements will be made at the other end of the roadway at the Route 9 intersection.

Officials said intersections along the truck route have seen numerous crashes – from 2010-14, 26 crashes were reported from Route 113 to South Bedford Street, five times the state average for a similar roadway. Sixty-five crashes were reported from Route 113 to the area north of Park Avenue, which is nearly two times the state average, and 58 crashes occurred on Park Avenue from South Bedford Street to Route 9, 1.2 times the state average.

The owners of Downs Automotive on Park Avenue are in the crosshairs of the new road. Under the preferred alternative, the section of Park Avenue near their business would be become a dead-end road with no access to their property. In addition, their property is in the air-protected zone for runway expansion.

“This will land lock us,” Holly Downs told DelDOT officials during the workshop. “This will hurt us because we get a lot of our business from through traffic.”

She said county officials contacted the family 20 years ago about the possibility of airport expansion that would affect their property. “We are on edge and have been on hold. Our business has been growing, and we want to expand,” she said.

Sussex County Administrator Todd Lawson said the property would have to be acquired for the project to move forward. “We will have to revisit this, but at this point we are not sure if it's a county or DelDOT issue,” he said.

Public comment will be accepted through Wednesday, Nov. 15, at deldot.gov/information/projects/park_avenue_relocation/

 

For a map of the route, go to:

 https://www.deldot.gov/information/projects/park_avenue_relocation/public_workshop/pdfs/WS10-18-2017/5_PreferredAlternative.pdf