Work to extend the Junction and Breakwater Trail into Lewes is underway.
A-Del Construction Company kicked off a four-month project July 24 to extend the popular bike and pedestrian trail from Gills Neck Road along Freeman Highway and Kings Highway to the Lewes-Rehoboth Canal.
The path will border Breakwater Estates and the proposed Showfield development to connect to Kings Highway. Department of Transportation spokesperson Sandy Roumillat said the project should be complete by Thanksgiving.
The bike and pedestrian path will be 10 feet wide. The trail will be asphalt, except in one area where it will consist of a concrete path with a hand rail.
DelDOT still does not have access to a piece of trail along the Breakwater community because two homeowners have filed a lawsuit in Chancery Court to stop the trail. Homeowners say a proposed 15-foot wide public access easement was never granted or recorded.
Fritz Schranck, deputy attorney general with DelDOT, said the state has countered by filing an eminent domain suit to acquire the strip of land from Breakwater's open space.
“The state's position is that if it is acquiring the easement by eminent domain, whether it was previously granted an easement or not by the developer is a moot point,” he said.
When completed, it will extend the six-mile long trail between Lewes and Rehoboth Beach. Plans are also in the works to extend the Rehoboth end of the trail to offer safe passage to the city limits. The trail currently ends at Holland Glade Road and Hebron Road, about a half mile outside town.
Extending the trail is part of a larger statewide effort to enhance the bikeability and walkability of the resort area. In June, the 2.6-mile Gordons Pond trail opened, connecting the northern and southern ends of Cape Henlopen State Park.
Also in the works is a trail connecting Georgetown and Lewes. A trailhead is planned as part of the new Lewes Public Library project on Freeman Highway. When opened, bicyclists and hikers will have access to both the Junction and Breakwater Trail and the Lewes to Georgetown trail in the same area, with Cape Henlopen State Park only a short ride away.
DelDOT spokesman Greg Layton said the goal is to connect the Junction and Breakwater Trail with the Lewes-Georgetown trails at Monroe Avenue and Freeman Highway. A traffic light is expected to allow safe passage across the highway, he said.