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DelDOT revises trail entrance to Rehoboth

Project estimated to cost $1.6 million
Delaware transportation officials present a revised plan to the Rehoboth Beach commissioners Oct. 2 that would extend the Junction and Breakwater Trail into Rehoboth. The new plan eliminates shared sidewalks between cyclists and pedestrians and changes the route from the Lewes-Rehoboth Canal to Henlopen Avenue. RYAN MAVITY PHOTO
October 11, 2017

Delaware transportation officials unveiled a new plan Oct. 2 to bring the Junction and Breakwater Trail into Rehoboth Beach.

The new path takes trail users from the Lewes-Rehoboth Canal bridge behind the Rehoboth Beach Museum and out to Henlopen Avenue. Previously, DelDOT’s proposal was for bike traffic to share a sidewalk with pedestrians and travel against traffic to the circle and exit toward Henlopen.

Anthony Aglio, project manager for DelDOT, said the change was prompted by concern over bicycles and pedestrians sharing the sidewalk. He said DelDOT took the concept back to its engineers to find the safest option.

DelDOT spokesman C.R. MacLeod said bicyclists can still use Rehoboth Avenue to get into town. The new trail extension around Grove Park is intended for leisurely or less experienced cyclists, he said.

Another change was eliminating shared bicycle and pedestrian traffic on the Lewes-Rehoboth Canal bridge. Original plans called for pedestrians and cyclists to share a sidewalk on the outbound side with a dedicated bike lane on the inbound side. Now, Aglio said, the plan is for pedestrians to use the sidewalk with bike lanes on both sides for cyclists.

“We like this concept better than what we had before,” Aglio said.

DelDOT’s plan includes installing sidewalks on both sides of Rehoboth Avenue Extended and Church Street.

MacLeod and DelDOT officials say the plan is still a concept and needs further tweaks. However, DelDOT officials say the new plan is safer and more cost efficient. It is still 18 months away from construction. Aglio estimated the cost at $1.6 million, including acquiring rights-of-way, mainly near the new Shoal Harbor development and along the canal bank, which is owned by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

The Rehoboth commissioners spoke enthusiastically of DelDOT’s proposal.

“To me, this is a no-brainer,” Commissioner Kathy McGuiness said. “It’s safer. It’s less expensive. People are going behind the museum anyway so let’s give them a place where they can be separated from the playground. They are meant to connect to Henlopen Avenue anyway. It just makes sense.”

DelDOT is hoping for a go-ahead vote from the commissioners before starting the design phase in January.

Mayor Paul Kuhns said, “I think this is great. I know it’s two years away, but this gives us a very good idea of what you have planned. I think this is, from a safety perspective, this is the best way to keep people safe.”