When the overpass at the intersection of Route 1 and Route 16 is complete in late 2025, motorists will be able to drive from I-95 to Five Points without hitting a traffic light.
Gov. John Carney joined local legislators and Delaware Department of Transportation officials June 21 to officially kick off the $40 million project with a groundbreaking ceremony at the busy crossroads near Milton.
“One of the things we were able to do in Congress in my six years I was there were these kinds of projects,” Carney said. “Infrastructure is important to every congressional district across the country, and it’s an issue where Democrats and Republicans are able to work together to get things done.”
DelDOT Secretary Nicole Majeski said the intersection has one of the highest crash rates along the Route 1 corridor.
“This project is another step in our work to limit the number of access points for vehicles to enter and exit the highway as part of our commitment to safety, and as part of our corridor capacity preservation program,” she said.
A-Del Construction has already begun site work in the project area. When complete, Route 1 will go over Route 16 on two parallel bridges. In preparation for bridge construction, access roads will be built on either side of Route 1. In a few months, after summer ends, traffic will be diverted to each one-way access road – northbound on the east side and southbound on the west side. A temporary traffic signal will be installed at each intersection with Route 16. The signals will be removed when work is finished on the overpass, also called a grade-separated intersection. The project also includes realignment at the intersection of Route 1 and Deep Branch Road, north of Route 16.
Majeski said fiscal year 2023, which begins July 1, will include a $610 million capital project plan. In Sussex County alone, DelDOT has committed to spend $1.3 billion over the next six years, she said.
“An orange barrel is coming to a road near you,” Majeski joked.
Combining federal bipartisan infrastructure resources with the state’s capital budget, Carney said, the state will soon have the largest transportation construction program in Delaware’s history.
“Our challenge will be to find the engineers, the planners ... and the workers to do that work and to get it out the door in a timely fashion as required by the law,” Carney said.
Sen. Dave Wilson, R-Bridgeville, said he’s heard from the first responder community that improvements at the intersection are vital.
“This is a big deal, and we need to move forward,” he said.
The fact that 80% of the project is federally funded makes it a no-brainer, he said.
“Anytime we can get money out of Washington to make something happen in Sussex County, I’m all for it,” he said.
Rep. Steve Smyk, R-Milton, said he responded to many serious crashes at the intersection during his days as a Delaware State Police trooper.
“This [project] is going to save lives,” he said. “This is a great step forward for safety for everyone that comes here and goes through this intersection.”
Since 2009, DelDOT has completed seven grade-separated intersections along the Route 1 corridor south of Dover. DelDOT has plans to add two more north of Lewes, at Cave Neck Road and at Minos Conaway Road.
To learn more about the project, go to deldot.gov/projects/index.shtml?dc=details&projectNumber=T201500301.