Delaware Department of Transportation officials have unveiled plans for its latest project in the Cape Region.
The department will widen Route 24 to four lanes from Route 1 to just beyond Beacon Middle School and Love Creek Elementary. It also plans to add safety enhancements along the entire corridor from the Love Creek bridge to Route 1.
The project is part of a Hazard Elimination Program, a federally mandated program that uses accident data to highlight areas in need of safety improvements.
“Each one of the intersections in the project area has been flagged,” said DelDOT Project Manager John Gaines.
The $7 million first phase is already underway, as DelDOT is working through right-of-way acquisition from Route 1 to Mulberry Knoll Road, just east of the schools. Officials anticipate design to be complete by October, with a contract awarded in January 2019. Construction is slated to begin in March 2019 and end in the fall or winter of 2020. Gaines said there will be tight restrictions placed on the contractor, and no lane closures will be permitted during peak season.
The first phase will widen Route 24 from two lanes to four with a center turn lane from Route 1 to just west of Plantation Road. The project will also add intersection improvements at Plantation Road/Warrington Road and the entrance to Beebe Healthcare’s medical campus.
“It’s such a heavily traveled road,” Gaines said. “A lot of the safety concerns come from people making unwise decisions because they’re backed up in traffic.”
The worst traffic occurs in the summer and on weekends, he said.
Once complete, the Plantation Road/Warrington Road intersection with Route 24 will include a dedicated right-turn lane, a through-traffic lane, a shared left turn/through lane and a dedicated left-turn lane from both Plantation and Warrington. Eastbound and westbound Route 24 will each have a dedicated left-turn lane, two through lanes and a dedicated right-turn lane.
DelDOT plans to install the underground components for a traffic light at the Beebe entrance, but may not install the signal until a later time. A hotel is planned for the vacant property across the street from the Beebe campus that would utilize the same intersection.
The $5 million second phase will pick up where the first phase ends, with construction slated to begin in September 2020, continuing until March 2022. Work will include widening Route 24 to four lanes with a center turn lane from west of Plantation Road to the Saddle Ridge community, west of the schools. From that point west to the Love Creek bridge, lanes reduce to two with a center turn lane. A traffic signal will be added to the Mulberry Knoll intersection along with other intersection improvements. The existing traffic signal at the entrance to the schools will remain.
DelDOT is also planning improvements at two Route 24 intersections west of Love Creek – Camp Arrowhead Road and Robinsonville Road/Angola Road. That project is set to begin construction in February 2021 and continue until March 2022. Route 24 will be widened at the intersections to accommodate the extension of turn lanes.
Gaines said the Route 24 project is part of the larger effort to improve the safety and operations of the roadways in the Cape Region. Along with this project, DelDOT is in the planning process for at least five other transportation projects. DelDOT is also working to solve the Five Points conundrum, as a working group has been meeting monthly since December to develop a strategy for the infamous intersection.
DelDOT construction timelines
Route 24 widening Phase 1 – Spring 2019 to fall/winter 2020
Route 24/5/23 intersection improvements – 2019 to 2021
Route 24 improvements at Mount Joy Road and Bay Farm Road – Summer 2019 to Summer 2021
Old Orchard Road realignment – 2020 to 2021
Route 24 widening Phase 2 – Fall 2020 to spring 2022
Route 24/Camp Arrowhead Road/Robinsonville Road intersection improvements – Begins late 2020
Minos Conaway Road/Nassau bridge work – 2022 to 2024
Overpass at Routes 113/404/18 – Begins 2023
Plantation Road improvements – 2024 to 2026