DelDOT choking east-to-west traffic flow

September 15, 2023

Wow! As a friend said, “You’ve really touched a raw nerve” by asserting that four all-way-stop controls on a 10-mile stretch of Route 20 between Hardscrapple and Millsboro are the wrong answer from DelDOT planners to traffic concerns at four intersections.

The sheer volume of respondents reflects important and growing attention being paid to DelDOT’s regulation of traffic in Sussex County, especially when it appears to be strangling west-to-east traffic flow.

DelDOT’s PR department was good enough to send me a rather generic explanation of some of their policies. Even we non-expert traffic observers certainly expected to see and did see that AWSC’s slow-down solutions would significantly diminish the severity of traffic accidents.

However, without more specific information about the Route 20 intersections, the actual needs for each of these new AWSCs remain in question. For example, what we need are the traffic impacts of the locations, numbers and sizes of new residential subdivisions feeding these intersections, a reason cited by DelDOT as justification for the new AWSCs.

Absent contrary data, common sense suggests the vast majority of accidents/incidents are not caused by travelers using Route 20. Instead, common sense suggests most accidents are caused by drivers using roads intersecting Route 20.

Recognizing that, several writers have suggested a variety of alternative means of alerting and/or controlling traffic approaching Route 20. Relatively inexpensive, but serious rumble strips could be installed and monitored for effectiveness. More expensive and attention-getting measures like flashing red lights and cameras could be added as necessary. If these combined measures are deemed less than successful, roundabouts could slow – but not stop traffic – perhaps achieving both safety and convenience goals simultaneously.

The current use of AWSCs on Route 20 seems to be cheap overkill solutions without attempting to use and evaluate less-restrictive measures.

For these reasons, I have again requested that DelDOT review the criteria and recommendations that allegedly support the current strategy of AWSCs along Route 20 and undo/redo some of the unjustified AWSC changes to Route 20 travel in favor of less-restrictive alternatives.

Finally, let’s not forget the big picture: recent Route 20 restrictions are symptomatic of some much-larger west-to-east travel problems in Sussex County, including the Route 113-through-Millsboro traverse mess and the Route 9 Georgetown-to-Lewes corridor strangulation.

Northern Delaware residents certainly appreciate the millions spent for roads such as the ones allowing them to circumvent/avoid tolls over the Roth bridge/the canal.

Sussex County residents could use and would appreciate some similar largesse for sensible remediation of our traffic problems from DelDOT planners, not just more traffic-flow impediments like AWSCs, stop lights, no-passing zones, etc.

Dan Cannon


  • A letter to the editor expresses a reader's opinion and, as such, is not reflective of the editorial opinions of this newspaper.

    To submit a letter to the editor for publishing, send an email to Letters must be signed and include a telephone number and address for verification. Please keep letters to 500 words or fewer. We reserve the right to edit for content and length. Letters should be responsive to issues addressed in the Cape Gazette rather than content from other publications or media. Only one letter per author will be published every 30 days. Letters restating information and opinions already offered by the same author will not be used. Letters must focus on issues of general, local concern, not personalities or specific businesses.

Subscribe to the Daily Newsletter