A controversial overpass at Route 1 and Route 16 was front and center at a public workshop July 23, when transportation officials announced the overpass should be complete by fall 2023.
Citizens at the workshop were skeptical that removing the traffic signal at Route 16 would improve traffic flow, but DelDOT officials insisted the overpass is the best solution.
The project would build an overpass over Route 1 with ramps on both sides of the road. DelDOT officials said the project is spurred by safety and traffic flow concerns; the idea of an overpass has been suggested for at least 15 years. During construction, the ramps will be built first, and traffic will be shifted over to the ramps until the southbound lane is complete. Traffic would then be shifted to the southbound lane while the northbound lane is constructed. DelDOT officials said the construction process would be similar to how the department built a new overpass in between Milford and Dover.
The overpass was one of numerous Route 1 improvement projects officials presented during the workshop at Milton library. DelDOT officials discussed Route 1 improvement projects on pace to be built over the next five years. DelDOT Assistant Director of Project Development Michael Simmons said the overall plan is to improve safety and traffic flow in the Route 1 corridor from Dover Air Force Base to Five Points. At this point, improvements have been in the northern part of the corridor, between Dover and Milford, but over the next five years, work will move south to the Milton-Lewes area.
Two big projects on deck are the overpass at Route 1 and Route 16 and a grade-separated intersection at Minos Conaway Road.
The Minos Conaway Road project was the most controversial at the July 23 workshop. Planned for construction in spring 2023, the project involves eliminating all the crossovers from Minos Conaway Road to Five Points and building two new service roads, one northbound and one southbound, from Minos Conaway to the Nassau Bridge. Plans also call for a pedestrian/bicycle trail along the route that would connect to the Lewes-to-Georgetown Trail.
Citizens asked how motorists from Minos Conaway Road would get to Route 1 northbound. DelDOT Director of Design Mark Luszcz said motorists would travel south to the bridge, go under the bridge and then take the northbound service road to merge onto Route 1 at Red Mill Pond. Citizens also asked whether there would be improvements to Minos Conaway Road itself. DelDOT engineer Shante Hastings said at this point there are no plans for work on Minos Conaway, but the department will examine it going forward.
Three other smaller projects would create one-way crossovers at the intersections of Route 1 and Hudson Road, Cave Neck Road and Oyster Rocks Road. Simmons said at Hudson Road, the median would be closed except for left-hand turns onto northbound Route 1. He said there will be an acceleration lane on the median side to allow traffic to get up to speed. He said most of the crashes at that intersection are right at the median where cars are hit at an angle. A similar plan is in place for the intersection at Oyster Rocks Road. At Cave Neck Road, traffic will only turn southbound. Those looking to go northbound will have to go to the next crossover and U-turn.
The Oyster Rocks and Hudson Road changes are planned to be in place before summer 2020.
DelDOT spokeswoman Pam Lilly said the nearest crossovers for Hudson, Oyster Rocks and Cave Neck roads are within 2,000 feet of each other.