A checkpoint May 22 on Route 1 meant to address out-of-state visitors instead caused a lot of headache for local travelers.
“They stopped everybody. The roadblocks didn't do what they were intended,” said Sen. Ernie Lopez, R-Lewes. “As we all found out pretty quickly, state police were stopping Delawareans who were simply coming home from work from Milford and Dover, and it caused a tremendous amount of concern on Friday evening.”
Lopez said a roadblock was set up on the two-lane stretch of Route 1 southbound near Red Mill Pond and all vehicles were stopped, instead of pulling over cars with out-of-state tags and letting others go by. “We had people stuck in traffic for 90 minutes trying to get through,” Lopez said.
The checkpoint was held from 4 to 8 p.m., and at one point the line reached from Red Mill Pond to about Hudson Fields. Master Cpl. Melissa Jaffe of the Delaware State Police said a total of 6,827 cars passed through the checkpoint and there were 455 out-of-state vehicles. She said in-state vehicles were waved through the checkpoint. A few vehicles with out-of-state tags were also waved through after drivers showed they had a Delaware driver's license, she said.
Following a conversation of Gov. John Carney May 23, Lopez said, Carney apologized for the traffic backup.
“I appreciated the governor apologizing, and I mentioned to him that I think he should say in his Tuesday press conference that he should make a formal statement and let people know it was a mistake,” he said.
On May 25, Carney did apologize about the traffic jam during a press conference in Lewes. “That created too much of an inconvenience, and I apologize for that,” Carney said.