Two new sections of the Lewes-to-Georgetown Trail are slated for construction this year.
Work on the trail from the Georgetown Little League complex to Airport Road is scheduled to begin this summer, with bids going out in May. Work on a section from Cool Spring Road to Fisher Road, including a Route 9 crossing, is scheduled to begin this fall, with bids going out in July.
Since the railroad is still in service, the trail section from the Harbeson area to Georgetown will run alongside the tracks and be separated by a fence.
“We don't have specifics around completion dates until a contractor is on board,” said Charles “C.R.” McLeod, Delaware Department of Transportation director of community relations.
Phase 1 of the trail, from Gills Neck Road to Savannah Road, Lewes, opened in October 2016. Phase 2, from Savannah Road to Log Cabin Hill Road, Lewes, opened in June 2019. With additional funding, DelDOT officials were able to provide an extension of Phase 2 from Log Cabin Hill Road to Cool Spring Road and Route 9. That work was completed in May 2020.
When completed, the 17-mile trail will link Lewes and Georgetown, with access to the Junction & Breakwater Trail from Lewes to Rehoboth Beach and the trail from Lewes into Cape Henlopen State Park.
The popular trail follows the rail bed of the former Delaware Coast Line Railroad. After more than 140 years, rail service from Georgetown to Lewes was discontinued in December 2017 when it was determined the railroad swing bridge across the Lewes-Rehoboth Canal was not safe for rail traffic and repairs were deemed too costly.
A multimillion-dollar project to remove the tracks and rail crossings, and rehabilitate the rail bed began in spring 2018.
Delaware Coast Line Railroad began service to Lewes in October 1982 and averaged about 60 trips per year.