Twenty-five years ago, state transportation officials were exploring an idea to dualize Route 24 from the Route 113 intersection in Millsboro to the Route 1 intersection near Rehoboth Beach.
And just as with plans to dualize Route 404/9 from the Maryland line to the beaches, the idea was not met with much public support.
“There was major public opposition, so DelDOT abandoned the idea,” said Mark Luszcz, Delaware Department of Transportation deputy director of design.
However, he said, parts of the plan are coming to fruition on the east side of Love Creek bridge with the ongoing Route 24 widening project. East of the bridge, projects are designed to solve increasing traffic-capacity issues, but on the west side, projects are aimed at safety and operational improvements, not major capacity projects, he said.
Long-term plans could include widening Route 24 beyond Love Creek to the Camp Arrowhead Road area, he added.
DelDOT officials had a virtual workshop Feb. 25 to update the public on projects scheduled for the Route 24 corridor.
Route 24 corridor projects
Route 1 to Mulberry Knoll Road area near Love Creek Elementary School. Road widening to four lanes with a center turn lane and intersection improvements. Construction is underway and expected to be completed in 2022.
Mulberry Knoll Road to Love Creek bridge. Road widening ending 1,500 feet from the bridge just west of Beacon Middle and Love Creek Elementary schools with a single-lane approach to the bridge. Construction 2022-23.
Route 24-Route 113 intersection paving and rehabilitation in Millsboro. Work is expected to be completed by the end of the year. Work at the intersection will be done at night. A separate project includes a separate right-turn lane in front of the Wawa convenience store on the west side of the intersection. Work will be completed before summer.
Camp Arrowhead Road and Angola Road. Intersection improvements including realigning Angola Road with Robinsonville Road. Plans include intersection widening, extended turn lanes, bike paths, sidewalks, drainage improvements, a bus stop and crosswalks. Design work is underway with construction tentatively scheduled for later in 2021 into 2022.
Mt. Joy Road and Bay Farm Road. Intersection improvements including extended turn lanes, bike paths, drainage improvements, crosswalks and sidewalks. Construction scheduled for summer 2021 into 2022.
Route 5 and Route 23. Intersection improvements including curbing, turn lanes, bus stop, sidewalks, crosswalks and bike paths. Construction will start in spring 2021 and be completed in fall 2022.
Phase 1 of Plantation Road improvements, Robinsonville Road to Route 9. Realignment of the Plantation Road-Beaver Dam Road-Route 9 intersection to include a roundabout. Widening of Plantation Road with sidewalks on south side and shared-use path on north side, and intersection improvements at Shady Road and Robinsonville Road intersections. Work is scheduled to begin on the roundabout phase of the project in January 2022 with total project completion in spring 2024.
Phase 2 of Plantation Road improvements, Robinsonville Road to Route 24. Construction date to be determined.
Questions from the public
Luszcz was asked why the planned traffic signal at the Mulberry Knoll-Route 24 intersection could not be constructed now and not in two more years,
He said the signal can't be installed until all roadwork is completed.
“We have to be very careful where we put traffic signals,” Luszcz said. “The perception is that they solve all the world's problems, but we are finding traffic injuries increasing at signals. This particular signal is being placed here more because of development.”
Several residents asked about a second bridge over Love Creek since the road east of the bridge will be widened. “There are no plans for a bridge. That's a much longer-term project,” said Charles “C.R.” McLeod, director of DelDOT community relations.
DelDOT officials said a dedicated bicycle lane along the corridor is not part of the overall project. Luszcz said while bicycle-pedestrian lanes will be included during intersection improvements, the rest of the corridor will not be connected. He noted that Route 24 has a wide shoulder on both sides of the roadway.
“All data is subject to change. This is the best information we have at this time,” Luszcz said. “There are a multitude of things that could delay projects.”
Those include utility relocation, purchase of rights of way taking longer than expected, and the scope of the environmental assessment process.
Part of Henlopen district
The eastern end of the Route 24 corridor is included in the 24-square-mile Henlopen Transportation Improvement District, which has its own series of road and intersection improvements.
In the district, developers will pay fees attached to new residential and commercial construction. Twenty-four percent of the cost will be covered by developers. DelDOT will provide the remaining 76 percent of funds for projects through its six-year capital transportation program.
DelDOT planners project 12 new traffic signals, 13 roundabouts and 15 intersections with turn lanes, and four miles of new road connections, totaling nearly $284 million, will be necessary within the district to keep pace with current and future development.
For more information, go to deldot.gov/projects/index.shtml?dc=corridor&name=sr-24.