If the intersection of Route 16 and Union Street Extended in Milton isn’t the busiest one in town, it often feels like it.
That junction figures to get busier once a proposed Royal Farms convenience store and gas station goes in on a 2-acre parcel at the northwest corner of the intersection. According to officials from the Delaware Department of Transportation, Route 16 sees 5,000 to 10,000 vehicles per day.
Milton’s Streets, Sidewalks and Parks Committee invited DelDOT officials to attend the committee’s next meeting to discuss issues related to Route 16. A date for such a meeting has not yet been set.
At the committee’s Aug. 17 meeting, Chair Jack Bushey said in meetings he attended with town, state, county and DelDOT officials about Route 16 and its two intersections in Milton at Mulberry Street and Union Street Extended, the town wanted to see those intersections upgraded to make traffic run smoother. Among the ideas suggested, Bushey said, were alternate times on the Route 16 and Union Street Extended traffic signal so left-hand turns could be made easier. The committee wanted to be involved in future studies of Route 16 going through Milton so members could provide feedback.
DelDOT has been conducting its Coastal Corridor Study of Route 16, as well as Route 404, major beach routes from Maryland and other points west. The study aims to solicit input from the public and government officials on how to improve traffic flow along the corridor.
DelDOT spokesman C.R. McLeod said the department has three major improvements planned for Route 16 over the next six years:
- A new grade-separated intersection at Route 1 and Route 16, on tap to start construction in spring 2022
- Intersection improvements at Route 16 and Route 30 in Milton, which are in the early design phase and could include a roundabout. Funding for this project is planned in fiscal year 2025
- A new grade-separated intersection at Route 16 and Route 113 outside Ellendale, which is in early design development with construction funding planned for fiscal year 2026.
As for the intersection of Route 16 and Union Street Extended, McLeod said a traffic-impact study of the proposed Royal Farms is still under review.
“We anticipate requiring them to improve SR 16 in the area of their site entrance and the SR 5 intersection; however, to what extent those improvements will be we can’t yet say until we complete the traffic-impact study process,” McLeod said.
He added that DelDOT is working with the town of Ellendale on its comprehensive plan to ensure the town is ready for any type of infrastructure expansion and improvements, as well as planning a paving and rehabilitation project for Route 16, although there is no date for when that will happen.