DelDOT to spend $1.3 billion over six years in Sussex

Majority of projects center around major highways in central and eastern parts of county
March 31, 2023

State transportation officials plan to spend more than $1.3 billion on road projects in Sussex County over the next six years, including several grade-separated interchanges on Route 1 and Route 113.

The Henlopen Transportation Improvement District has $300 million in planned improvements.

Delaware Department of Transportation Secretary Nicole Majeski released those figures during an update to Sussex County Council at its March 28 meeting.

The current six-year Capital Transportation Plan also includes projects totaling $2.3 billion in New Castle County and $780 million in Kent County.

DelDOT is responsible for 93% of all roads in the state, which is the highest percentage in the nation, according to the Federal Highway Administration.

Pilot programs

DelDOT also has several initiatives and pilot programs planned with an emphasis on making roads safer for motorists.

Those include an automated speed pilot program along I-95. Majeski said so far, the speed cameras have helped reduce crashes by 45% and also slowed traffic down.

There were three fatalities in work zones in 2022. Majeski said DelDOT is working to provide more information to drivers approaching work zones.

In 2022, there were seven serious wrong-way driver crashes resulting in 13 deaths, a dramatic increase from previous years. Majeski said a new pilot program includes a system of flashing lights when a driver enters a ramp the wrong way. That information is then recorded and monitored by DelDOT’s Traffic Management Center and dispatched immediately to Delaware State Police.

Majeski said Delaware in the lowest-lying state in the country and there are 14,000 road segments in the state that are subject to frequent flooding. “We are seeing more sunny-day flooding than ever before. We are addressing 20 miles per year,” Majeski said.

DelDOT is piloting a program to use porous paving surfaces.

In a partnership with the Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control, the state will add more EV charging stations along Routes 1, 13 and 113, as well as I-95 and I-495. There will be a fee to use the stations.

Councilman John Rieley asked about the impact of the mandate to move to more electric vehicles and how will it will impact the motor fuel tax, one of DelDOT's major funding sources at $146 million per year.

“This funding has to be part of the long-term conversation,” Majeski replied.

She said currently only 2% of Delaware registered vehicles are electric or hybrid.

Majeski said trucks illegally parking on state roads is a growing problem. She said enforcement has been increased and officials are looking at additional truck parking areas, including possibly parking at park and ride and transit centers.

Project updates

Trails – DelDOT has applied for a federal grant to expedite construction of the final six miles of the Lewes-to-Georgetown Trail from Fisher Road to Airport Road near Georgetown. DelDOT is planning to provide a link to the trail from Milton.

Plantation Road – Phase 1, from the Route 9-Beaver Dam Road intersection to Robinsonville Road, is underway. The project includes a roundabout at the intersection of Plantation Road, Beaver Dam Roads and Route 9 and widening of Plantation Road with pedestrian access improvements. Several road closures will take place during construction of the project expected to be completed by the end of 2024.

Other multi-modal projects in the area include a streetscape on Walnut Street in Milford, Phase 2 of the Munchy Branch Road sidewalk project and sidewalks in Fenwick Island.

TID – In the Henlopen TID, 13 agreements have been made with developers totaling $860,000. DelDOT officials are in the planning stages of the Southeast Sussex/Roxana Transportation Improvement District. The proposed district contains 37 square miles with 127 miles of roads and 110 intersections.

FAST Track project – Shante Hastings, DelDOT’s deputy secretary and chief engineer, outlined the progress of the improvements at the Cave Neck Road-Hudson Road-Sweetbriar Road intersection. Rights-of-way purchases will begin in the next few months and will include some complete acquisitions of lots with houses. Construction is expected to begin in 2025. The road work is the first project supported by the county's Funding Accelerating Safety in Transportation program. A $5 million award (to be repaid by DelDOT) has moved the project forward three years.

New Road bridge – Relocation of utilities is scheduled to start this fall, with construction to begin in fall 2024. Because of flooding from Canary Creek, the Lewes bridge will be elevated 7 feet feet with new approach ways and a pedestrian path crossing. During construction, New Road is expected to be closed for up to seven months.

Work on Old Orchard Road realignment at Wescoats Corner and Savannah Road will start this year and end in 2026. The project includes a new Savannah Road-Old Orchard Road intersection, a new section of Old Orchard Road and intersection improvements (including a roundabout) at Wescoats Corner and Marsh Road

Grade-separated interchanges – Route 1 and Minos Conaway Road, construction in 2024; Route 1 and Cave Neck Road, construction in 2025; Route 1 and Route 16 is under construction to be completed in 2025. The two lanes of the ramp on the east side of Route 1 is complete, with traffic scheduled to be shifted to the lanes soon.

Construction is expected to start at the Route 113-Route 404 intersection in Georgetown in 2024; design work is underway for the Route 113-Route 9 intersection in Georgetown; design is underway on a project to add one lane in each direction along Route 113 through Millsboro.

Route 113 – Millsboro north bypass ribbon cutting is scheduled for Friday, March 31, with construction to be completed in summer 2025; four new traffic signals, including the Gov. Stockley Road-Avenue of Honor intersection south of Georgetown, are planned.

Coastal Corridors Study – After a series of public workshops, DelDOT officials will present short-, medium- and long-term traffic solutions between Route 113 and Route 1. Recommendations will be presented during a workshop in May.

Route 1 Corridor Capacity Plan – The plan, created in the 1990s and updated in 2007, is being updated to plan for future improvements, accommodate growth and retain capacity. The updated plan will be based on 2050 traffic projections and land-use changes. “We are looking at ways to accommodate development and maintain the corridor,” Majeski said.

Kings Highway – A public hearing will be scheduled to present final concepts for the Kings Highway widening project from Dartmouth Drive to Freeman Highway. Hastings said DelDOT officials have been working with developers and the Historic Lewes Scenic Byway Committee to finalize plans, which will include intersection improvements (and up to five roundabouts) and widening of Kings Highway.

Park Avenue – Phase 1 of the Park Avenue relocation project east of Georgetown is underway, with a new section of Park Avenue to connect to a new intersection at Bedford Street. Work is expected to be completed summer of 2024 with Phase 2 to follow.

Route 24 – Phase 1 of the widening project is completed and Phase 2 from Mulberry Knoll Road to the area west of the schools is underway and scheduled to be completed by the end of 2024; Mulberry Knoll intersection traffic signal, construction May or June; Burton's Pond dam work to be completed this summer; Camp Arrowhead Road-Route 24 intersection improvements to be completed by the end of May; intersection improvements at Bay, Long Neck and Mt. Joy roads to be completed this year.

DART – Majeski said Beach Bus service starts May 22. Last year, there were 15,000 riders per week during the peak season. She said the DART Connect service from Georgetown to Millsboro had more than 13,000 trips last year. “Micro-transit may be the future of transit for us,” Majeski said, with possible service expanding to the west side of the county.


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