Get used to seeing orange cones and barrels on Cape Region roads. Over the next five years, DelDOT has scheduled major road, trail and bridge projects totaling more than $250 million. Among those projects are new roundabouts, traffic signals, intersection upgrades and three Route 1 interchange projects.
“We are so far behind,” said Delaware Department of Transportation Planning Director Drew Boyce. “You'll see projects coming one after another.”
Five projects are scheduled in the Route 24 corridor from spring 2019 to fall 2022.
• Improvements from Mulberry Knoll Road east to Route 1 include widening the road to four lanes, adding turn lanes, shoulders, sidewalks and bike lanes, and improvements at the Plantation Road intersection. Construction: spring 2019 to spring 2021.
• From Mulberry Knoll Road to Love Creek bridge, Route 24 will be widened to four lanes. Construction: fall 2020 to fall 2022.
• Camp Arrowhead Road and Angola Road intersection improvements include separate turn and through lanes. Construction: fall 2020 to fall 2021.
• Route 5 intersection improvements include sidewalks, traffic islands and turn lanes. Construction: 2021 to 2022.
• Mount Joy Road-Bay Farm Road intersection improvements include extended turn lanes. Construction spring 2019 to summer 2020.
Boyce said the developer of the Burton Pond subdivision is responsible for intersection improvements at the Route 24-Sloan Road-Hollymount Road intersection. The project includes realignment of Sloan and Hollymount roads and installation of a new traffic signal. Construction is based on the developer's schedule, he said.
Boyce said a project on Kings Highway will fulfill the vision of the Historic Lewes Byway management plan with a four-lane, parkway-style roadway with a vegetated median from Dartmouth Drive to Freeman Highway. Improvements at the intersection with Dartmouth Drive are also planned. He said it’s a coordinated effort with developers of the Mitchell Farm property and Village Center.
Scheduled for construction in 2023, Boyce said financial constraints are delaying the start date. “It ranks high because of congestion on the road. We’d like to move it up on the schedule,” he said.
• Construction on Phase 2 of the Lewes-to-Georgetown Trail from Savannah Road to Sweetbriar Road is scheduled to start this fall and be completed by the end of summer 2019.
• Another major project is realignment of Old Orchard Road to tie in with Wescoats Road, and realignment and a possible roundabout at the Marsh Road-Clay Road intersection. Construction is expected from summer 2021 to summer 2022.
Work planned along Plantation Road, from Route 24 to Beaver Dam Road, includes turn lanes, intersection improvements, median turns for residents, and bike and pedestrian paths. Construction could start in 2024 and take two years.
Boyce said because of issues raised by citizens and the Five Points working group, the section from Salt Marsh Boulevard north to the Beaver Dam Road-Route 9 intersection is a separate project. He said he hopes the project will begin design soon. Improvements could include a roundabout at the intersection and realignment of Beaver Dam Road with Plantation Road.
• Minos Conaway and Route 1 interchange improvements include two new frontage roads along Route 1 north of the bridge and a new road under the Nassau bridge connecting to Janice Road and New Road. Construction is anticipated to start in 2023 and be completed by the end of 2025.
• Route 16 and Route 1 grade-separated interchange with construction from 2020 to 2022.
• Cave Neck Road and Route 1 grade-separated interchange. The project includes a yet-to-be-determined developer's contribution to allow access to Overbrook Meadows subdivision, east of the intersection. Boyce said the developer would like the project to proceed before the anticipated start date of 2023. “Our timing and their timing are off right now,” he said. “They would like to see it done sooner and so would we. We'll see how they can advance the project.”
A project on the Rehoboth canal drawbridge will allow for a better connection to the Junction and Breakwater Trail. Work includes a separated two-way bicycle-pedestrian path linking Grove Park and the trail. New signage will be posted to the trail's end at Hebron Road. Construction: winter 2019 to spring 2020. “This work will make the Junction-Breakwater and Gordons Pond trails loop really complete,” Boyce said.
• Rehabilitation work on the Route 1 bridge over the canal in Rehoboth Beach is scheduled from spring 2019 to summer 2020.
• Route 9-Route 5 intersection improvements in Harbeson include improved drainage, turn lanes and realignment to accommodate turns by large trucks. Construction: fall 2018 to summer/fall 2019.
• Park Avenue relocation for expansion of Delaware Coastal Airport, Georgetown. Anticipated construction from 2022 to 2024.
Boyce said DelDOT officials are planning to construct a multi-use path from the Sandhill Fields sports complex, across Route 9, in front of Sussex Academy of Arts and Sciences to connect to Phase 3 of the Lewes-to-Georgetown Trail. Construction is estimated to start in 2020 and be completed in 2021.
• Phase 3 of the trail through Georgetown goes from downtown to the Little League Park, ending in the area of Park Avenue. Phase 2 in Lewes will be under construction this fall.
• The Georgetown Gateway project at the intersection of Sand Hill Road, Route 9 and Airport Road is in the design phase. Land donated by Sussex Sports Center Foundation and a federal grant have allowed the project to become a reality, Boyce said. Construction is expected from spring 2020 to summer 2021.
Additional projects put on the list
Boyce said based on feedback from Sussex County staff, seven additional projects have been added to the capital plan. “They were on previous county requests. We've talked about them long enough,” he said.
Those projects include:
• Improvements – either a traffic signal or roundabout – at the Warrington Road-Old Landing Road intersection. In addition, Boyce said, DelDOT staff is working with Beebe Healthcare officials to look at the possibility of a roundabout at the entrance to its yet-to-be-built facility along Warrington Road.
• Completion of the connector road is planned between Route 24 and Old Landing Road in front of the Beebe Healthcare complex. Boyce said Sterling Crossing residents have expressed concern with the project even though the developer granted DelDOT a 60-foot easement for the road. “No residents were informed about this, so we are working hand-in-hand with the community to make this work,” he said.
• The triangular Sweetbriar Road-Hudson Road-Cave Neck Road intersection still needs attention, Boyce said. “There is need for a long-term solution there,” he said. Boyce said when Minos Conaway-Route 1 interchange improvements are complete, more traffic is expected to use Nassau Commons Boulevard, a private road, to Janice Road, under the bridge to New Road. He said Nassau Commons Boulevard would need to be public under state maintenance.
In addition, he said, more motorists will use Minos Conaway Road from Route 9. He said improvements, including turn lanes and a traffic signal are possible.
Projects proposed on New Road
Boyce said improvements are in the future of New Road. Plans include widening to 11-foot travel lanes with 6-foot shoulders to include a bicycle path from the Nassau Road intersection to Old Orchard Road. In addition, he said, developers of the Groome property – if projects are approved – would be required to mirror those improvements from the Canary Creek bridge to Old Orchard Road.
Another future project on the road is raising the Canary Creek bridge and 800 to 1,000 feet of the approach roads to alleviate flooding. No timelines are provided for the proposed New Road projects. Boyce said all of the additional projects will surface in DelDOT's fiscal year 2023-25 plans.