Lewes officials have joined members of the Five Points Working Group and many in the public in urging the Department of Transportation to reconsider the order of its plans to upgrade intersections along Route 1.
In a June 14 letter to DelDOT Secretary Jennifer Cohan, Mayor Ted Becker requested delaying the planned Route 16 overpass until upgrades from Route 16 to Five Points are complete.
“Eliminating the traffic signal at Route 16 prior to upgrades further south will reduce safety and increase the number of serious crashes,” Becker wrote.
At the June 10 city council meeting, Councilwoman Bonnie Osler insisted the proposed sequencing of projects will increase the danger for people attempting to cross over Route 1 to other roads.
“We need some spacing to allow for that traffic flow,” she said. “I would invite Secretary Cohan to take a ride with us. I understand their data, but I think everyone in this room would agree that it’s very dangerous through there, particularly during summer and rush hour.”
With completion of the overpass in Little Heaven, the traffic signal at Route 16 is now the only light on Route 1 from I-95 to Five Points. DelDOT plans to begin construction on an overpass at Route 16 in summer 2021 with a targeted completion in fall 2023.
Officials and members of the public are asking DelDOT to delay the project until work is complete on overpasses at Cave Neck Road and Minos Conaway Road/Nassau bridge.
The Minos Conaway project is slated to begin in spring 2023 with a fall 2025 completion. The Cave Neck Road overpass also has a 2023 start date, but DelDOT Director of Planning Drew Boyce told Sussex County Council in April that overpass may be fast-tracked.
Before any of the major construction begins, DelDOT has plans to improve safety at eight Route 1 intersections from Primehook Road to Tulip Drive near Five Points. Work includes restricting access at crossovers.
Becker wrote that even with the signal at Route 16, crashes and near misses are common throughout the corridor, especially during peak traffic.
“Additionally, removing this signal in the short term will increase congestion at Five Points,” he wrote.