Lewes-to-Georgetown Trail work on schedule

Phase 2 of project could get underway in early October
July 31, 2018

Work to extend the rail trail from Savannah Road to Minos Conaway Road could begin in October.

The state has released bids for Phase 2 of the Lewes-to-Georgetown Trail with work expected to begin about Wednesday, Oct. 10.

This phase of the trail will extend 3.2 miles along a now-abandoned railroad line, passing behind the Covey Creek community, the Villages of Five Points, the new Covered Bridge Trails subdivision and under the Nassau bridge.

The work is expected to take 131 calendar days, according to bid documents. Bids are due no later than Tuesday, Aug. 21, with the cost estimated at more than $3 million.

The 10-foot-wide, hot-mix trail will mirror the existing trail.

The scope of the project changed when a section of the Delaware Coast Line Railroad, from Cool Spring to Lewes, was decommissioned because of the cost of repairing the 100-year-old Lewes-Rehoboth Canal railroad swing bridge. The bridge was used by the rail company to access the SPI Pharma facility near the entrance to Cape Henlopen State Park, but the facility has now switched to trucks for transportation.

Over the past few months, a crew has been involved removing spikes, loosening rail-joint bars, removing the steel rails and ties, and picking up all material left behind. Also included in the $4 million project is removal of 22 railroad crossings. So far, five crossings - Cool Spring, Savannah Road, Kings Highway, Monroe Street and Gills Neck - have been removed and paved over.

Delaware Department of Transportation Railroad Program Manager Bob Perrine said work on the remaining 15 crossings will begin after removal of the rails and ties is completed.

Instead of placing the trail next to the railroad tracks, as originally planned, the trail will use the existing rail bed.

Jeff Niezgoda, DelDOT's assistant director, said the tree canopy along the trail bed will now be preserved. He said under the original plan, many trees would have been cut down to make way for the trail.

Phase 1 of the trail opened in October 2016. The 1.25-mile paved trail stretches from Gills Neck Road to Savannah Road and will eventually link Lewes with Georgetown, a distance of 17 miles. The $1.2 million trail also provides a connection to the Junction and Breakwater Trail along Gills Neck Road and a safe route off heavily traveled Savannah Road.

As part of Phase 1, the City of Lewes headed up a more than $700,000 project to build a trailhead in the Lewes Public Library parking lot, with restrooms, bike parking, a bike repair station and 39 parking spaces.


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