The Henlopen Transportation Improvement District includes $284 million in road improvements, ranging from new roundabouts and traffic signals to road-widening projects and new roads.
Delaware Department of Transportation officials first proposed a transportation improvement district to Sussex County Council in June 2015, one of DelDOT Secretary Jennifer Cohan's first proposals as she took over the position. It would be the first district in Sussex County.
The public got a look at the proposed district during a Feb. 5 workshop at Lewes Fire Department Station 2 in Nassau, designed to allow public comment.
Once final details are worked out, Sussex County Council will vote on the proposal, said Sussex County Administrator Todd Lawson.
The district is 24 square miles with 43 roadway segments and 62 intersections.
Mike DuRoss, DelDOT's assistant director of planning, said road improvements are required to meet expected growth in the district over the next 25 years. Many intersections in the district are operating at an acceptable level of service today, he said, but that will not be the case over the next two decades.
As many as 13,000 housing units and 1.5 million square feet of commercial space could be approved by 2045 within the boundaries of the district.
DuRoss said the improvements address not only cars but buses, bicycles and pedestrians. He said all proposed road work would have sidewalks or shared-use paths. “The entire area will be walkable and bikeable,” he said.
Plans call for 13 new roundabouts, 12 new traffic signals, 7 miles of road widening from two to four lanes, 15 more intersections with turn lanes and 4 miles of new roads. All roads would be widened to 11-foot travel lanes with shoulders.
Proposed 2021-26 capital transportation program projects for the district total $95 million. The remaining funds – $189 million – would come from fees charged to developers who build projects in the district, DuRoss said.
All road projects would go through DelDOT's approval process, and all land-use applications would go through the county public hearing process.
Residential developers would be charged a fee per unit while commercial developers would pay a fee per square foot. The fee would be a percentage of the cost of all road improvements in the district, and it would be the same for all developers. County council will set the fee under the proposed agreement.
Based on a proposed 20 or 30 percent fee, developers would be charged from $4,200 to $6,350 per single-family unit. Commercial fees would range from $1.77 to $3.10 per square foot.
DelDOT officials said costs for development within the district are more predictable when developers pay a predetermined fee. Developers would not be required to have a traffic-impact study because the data has already been collected by DelDOT.
The proposed district
The district includes an area from Minos Conaway Road and Route 9 to Camp Arrowhead Road as well as Plantation Road to Conley's Chapel Road and include all or sections of the following: Mulberry Knoll Road; Warrington Road; Airport Road; Route 24; Cedar Grove Road; Robinsonville Road; Beaver Dam Road; Kendale Road; Dorman Road and Angola Road.
Proposed district improvements
Projects in the current DelDOT capital transportation program include: Minos Conway Road/Route 9 intersection improvements; Route 9 widening; Beaver Dam Road widening and intersection improvements; Plantation Road widening and intersection improvements; Warrington Road-Old Landing Road intersection roundabout; Old Landing Road widening; and an Airport Road connector road.
A two-lane roundabout is proposed at a realigned Beaver Dam Road-Fisher Road-Dairy Farm Road intersection.
One-lane roundabouts are proposed at Warrington Road and Old Landing Road; Cedar Grove Road and a new connector road to Route 9; Cedar Grove Road and Mulberry Knoll Road; Cedar Grove Road and Robinsonville Road; Robinsonville Road and Mulberry Knoll extension; Robinsonville Road and Jolyns Way extension; Robinsonville Road and Conley's Chapel Road; and five intersections along Beaver Dam Road, including Indian Mission Road, Hollymount Road, Conley's Chapel Road, Stockley Road and Hopkins Road.
New traffic signals are proposed at the following intersections: Airport Road and Miller Road; Airport Road and Old Landing Road; Old Landing Road and Rehoboth Mall entrance; Airport Road extension and Route 24; Route 24 and Mullberry Knoll Road; Route 24 and Jolyns Way; Plantation Road and Craig Boulevard, a new connector road; Plantation Road and Robinsonville Road; Mulberry Knoll Road extension and Beaver Dam Road; Mulberry Knoll extension and Route 9; Kendale Road and Robinsonville Road; and Kendale Road and Beaver Dam Road.
Two to four lanes with turn lanes, sidewalks and crossings: Route 9 from Nassau Vineyards area to Five Points; Beaver Dam Road; Plantation Road; and Route 24 beyond current widening project to Love Creek bridge.
Proposed new connector roads: Airport Road and Old Landing Road to Route 24; Mulberry Knoll Road to Cedar Grove to Route 9; Postal Lane to Route 24; Plantation Road to Mulberry Knoll Road; and upgrading of Nassau Commons Boulevard to DelDOT standards.