DelDOT in process of updating Route 1 plan

More interchanges, service roads and median crossover removals are included
November 22, 2022

The Route 1 Corridor Capacity Preservation Program, which includes the area from the Nassau Bridge in Lewes to Dover Air Force Base, is due for an overhaul.

Drew Boyce, Delaware Department of Transportation's former director of planning and now senior vice president of consultant Century Engineering, said the 2017 plan needs to be updated to better reflect current conditions and to incorporate newly approved comprehensive land-use plans in Sussex and Kent counties, and the updated Delaware Strategies for State Policies and Spending.

Boyce said there is also a safety aspect tied to the update. Vehicle crashes in the corridor have increased 9% over last year. “We are not going in the right direction,” he said.

The two most important takeaways from a Nov. 16 DelDOT workshop in Lewes are that in order to preserve capacity and ease conditions, all median crossovers and access to Route 1 from side roads need to be eliminated. He said DelDOT planners are working with the Delaware Department of Agriculture to identify areas for possible preservation.

During the workshop, DelDOT staff and consultants had a room filled with 31 large displays highlighting proposed projects to meet those goals. Among those projects are additional grade-separated interchanges, and a system of service and frontage roads.

“The trend is to eliminate all crossovers, with some provisions made for farmers in agricultural areas and many more service roads,” Boyce said. “The update needs to be one plan where property owners, Sussex County, developers and the state can work from.”

Boyce stressed that the plan is not intended to encourage development or growth that is inconsistent with county and municipal comprehensive plans, and Delaware Strategies for State Policies and Spending.

Boyce said some work has already been done to eliminate crossovers, including changes to the Cave Neck Road-Route 1 intersection. In addition, three interchange projects are scheduled in the near future along Route 1 in the Cape Region.

Interchange projects

Seven interchanges along the Route 1 corridor between Dover and Milford have already been constructed.

Boyce said other intersections, including Argo's Corner, Route 5 and Hudson Road, are also under consideration for grade-separated interchanges in Sussex County.

Work has already started on the Route 16 grade-separated interchange with a completion date of fall 2025. Work is scheduled at the Minos Conaway Road intersection from 2023 to 2026 and at the Cave Neck intersection from 2025 to 2026.

Boyce said improvements are also needed at the Oyster Rocks Road-Eagle Crest Road intersection along Route 1. “Improvements there are to be determined,” he said.

He said a series of frontage roads as part of the Minos Conaway interchange project are planned to remove direct access to Route 1 from many different points. He said those frontage roads could be expanded to include Oyster Rocks Road.

Development along Route 1

Boyce said development is starting to creep north along Route 1 from the Nassau Bridge near Lewes.

Already approved in that area are Chappell Farm, a mixed-use residential-commercial project on 15 acres at the Cave Neck Road-Route 1 intersection, and an indoor storage facility on the southbound lanes near the Nassau Bridge.

The owners of 247 acres on the east side of the Cave Neck Road-Route 1 intersection are seeking a change to the property's designation in the county's future land-use map from low-density to coastal area, which is considered a growth area. Low-density housing development is limited to two units per acre, while housing development in growth areas can be higher density with commercial options available.

While the Sussex County Planning & Zoning Commission has recommended approval of the change, Sussex County Council has yet to act. The Office of State Planning Coordination has gone on record opposed to the map amendment.

Some residents expressed concern about even more commercial development along Route 1 north of Lewes. “There is a regulatory process for any land development and a traffic-impact study to mitigate any traffic to some level,” Boyce said.

He was also asked about the Five Points intersection. “That's a bigger issue and a different project that is being worked on by the Five Points Working Group,” he said.

He added that an interim project, including a roundabout at the Plantation Road-Beaver Dam Road-Route 9 intersection with a new access road from the Route 1 southbound lanes, should help ease congestion.

Public input is sought

Boyce said there is no specific timeline for implementation of strategies or road improvements included in the proposed update except projects already in the current capital transportation plan or those proposed in the next capital plan. However, he said, road improvements could be triggered by property owners proposing projects along the route.

Public input is being used to complete the final draft of the update. Go to for more information. The project manager, Olayiwola Okesola, can be reached at 302-760-2409 or by email at

Goals of program

Corridors in the program in Sussex County include: Route 1 from Dover to Nassau Bridge, 31 miles; Route 113 from Milford to the Maryland line, 33 miles; and Route 13 from Camden to the Maryland line. Each one has its own plan.

Objectives and goals of the program are:

• Maintain a road's ability to handle traffic safely and efficiently

• Minimize impacts of increased economic growth

• Preserve the ability to make future improvements

• Prevent the need to build entirely new roads

• Sort local and through traffic.

DelDOT planners are charged to coordinate with stakeholders, including landowners, developers, businesses, legislators and local land-use agencies, such as Sussex County.


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