Officials from the Delaware Department of Transportation are planning a wrap-up public workshop on its Coastal Corridors study, a years-long project aimed at identifying potential improvements to east-west roads in Sussex County.
That workshop will be held from 4 to 6 p.m., Tuesday, June 6, at Mariner Middle School.
Andrew Bing of planning firm Kramer and Associates told Milton Town Council May 1 that the workshop will feature a short presentation on the study and its findings, then the public will be allowed to comment and ask questions of DelDOT planners. Bing said the goal is to come up with short-, medium- and long-term projects to improve the corridor, which encompasses Route 16 from Ellendale to Milton and Route 9 from Georgetown to Lewes.
Just because a project is identified, that does not necessarily mean it will happen, Bing said. Projects that do move forward will go through a public comment process, he said.
Jennifer Cinelli-Miller, transportation planner for DelDOT, said, “This is literally just the starting point.”
Bing said development activity in the area continues to increase, and the beaches remain a primary attraction for Delaware, so the goal of the study is to address future traffic growth while keeping the roads safe, maintaining quality of life for citizens and keeping Delaware competitive economically.
The Coastal Corridors study started in 2019. A listening tour was held in late 2020 to take public comments. Bing said a lot of the concerns and suggestions were related to safety, development and emergency services. After taking that public comment, and getting through the worst of the pandemic, Bing said DelDOT convened a committee in December 2022 comprising representatives from the main areas along the corridor: Milton, Greenwood, Bridgeville, Ellendale and Georgetown. Four public workshops were held in December, January, February and March.
Some of the preliminary recommendations that came out of those meetings included the idea for a bypass around Milton, which envisions splitting off Route 16 east of Route 30 and reconnecting east of Milton town limits. If that’s not possible, the backup recommendation is to explore widening Route 16 through Milton.
On Route 9, the biggest early recommendation is widening and expanding the roadway to two lanes in each direction from Route 1 to Route 5. Additional recommendations include improving bicycle and pedestrian routes through the corridor and adding more DART bus stops.
Still, Cinelli-Miller said nothing is finalized or in the works at this point.
“Nothing is going to happen tomorrow,” she said.