Resume Five Points study immediately

July 6, 2017

The July Fourth holiday weekend demonstrated once again that traffic in eastern Sussex County continues to intensify. The popularity of Delaware's beach resorts remains strong while the arrival of more and more retirees is filling our roads to and above capacity.

Above capacity?

Look at the most dynamic intersection in our region - Five Points. There were many times over the weekend when traffic going in all directions came to a standstill in the intersection.

That's why it was discouraging to receive a message last week from DelDOT public relations department about the status of a major study of Five Points and potential solutions to that mess. "We have delayed work on this study because of our broader effort to align planning across Sussex County. Currently, the Department is heavily engaged in the Sussex County Comp Plan process. ... There have been previous proposals for Five Points developed by the Department that have been rejected by the community. Our goal as we look ahead to another study is to get buy-in from all stakeholders to develop a workable transportation plan for Five Points that addresses the needs of this area."

As with the traffic itself, more delays. That means tacking on another two years to any kind of big solution - which is what is needed - to the 5 or 10 years required for acquiring land, designing and constructing.

A year ago, when the $110,000 study proposed by the Baltimore firm of Whitman, Requardt and Associates received the green light from DelDOT, surveyors and engineers went into high gear. They staked out study positions within a two- to three-mile perimeter of Five Points to get a feel for what they were dealing with. Then, after $18,000 worth of work - which doesn't amount to much - the process stopped.

That's crazy. The work should be resumed immediately so conceptual alternatives that are part of the scope of the project can be prepared.

We need the professional input now so it can be considered and possibly woven into the county's comprehensive land-use plan.


  • Editorials are considered by the editorial board and written by Laura Ritter, news editor, and Dennis Forney, publisher, with occasional contributions from other board members: Trish Vernon, editor; Dave Frederick, sports editor emeritus; Jen Ellingsworth, associate editor; Nick Roth, sports editor; and Chris Rausch, associate publisher.

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