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Regarding proposed improvements along Route 1

June 18, 2019

Having lived at Nassau Grove for 10 years, located at the intersection of Route 1 and Minos Conaway Road, we have developed a keen interest in this subject.
We are aware of the active planning for changes along Route 1 and have participated in several public meetings on this subject.

Our message is focused on four related subjects:

• Area dangerous intersections.
• The sequence and pace of anticipated changes.
• The role of stop lights in creating traffic gaps.
• Removing through traffic from Route 1 in the Lewes area.

We find five dangerous intersections in the Lewes area. We have defined them as the ones we avoid, when possible. When we approach them, we do so with above-average caution. Listed in our order of high risk, they are:

• Route 1 & Minos Conaway Road.
• Savannah Road (Route 9) and Wescoats and Old Orchard roads.
• Kings Highway (Route 9) and Clay Road.
• Kings Highway (Route  9) and Dartmouth Drive (Route 9).
• Georgetown Highway (Route 9) & Minos Conaway Road.

We believe that serious accidents have occurred at each of these.

DelDOT has pursued a mechanical, southern sequencing of enhancements to Route. 1. These have improved access to Sussex County from the north, no doubt. Recent public information indicates that the next three intersections are:

• Route 1 and Highway 16 (Broadkill Highway).
• Route 1 and Cave Neck Road.
• Route 1 and Minos Conaway Road.

The first is apparently planned and funded. One consequence of this pacing, which has apparently  been disregarded, is the impact of the stoplights at Route 16 being removed. As drivers who for 10 years have depended on the stop light-caused gaps to provide predictable spaces for turning/crossing Route 1 at Minos Conaway, we feel threatened.

What is already a chancy intersection will now be much more dangerous. The opinion was our own, based on our unprofessional, but numerously reinforced, anecdotal experiences. While stoplight removal enhances north/south access (speed), the increased risk during a lengthy transition period has been ignored.

In the May 6, 2019 edition of the Cape Gazette, an article on page 4 and an op-ed on page 6 addressed this issue.

These articles present other such opinions and professional input from DJ Hughes of consulting firm Davis, Bowen & Friedel. Matt Buckley, a traffic consultant with the Baltimore firm of WRA, cited accident profiles.

Buckley and Hughes apparently disagreed on the ‘traffic gap’ issue. Buckley described it as ‘free flowing’ instead of ‘gapped.’ As persons who use that intersection daily, we have trouble agreeing with Buckley.

Also in the article, Drew Boyce of DelDOT was adamantly quoted as to the certainty that the Route 1 & Route 16 intersection would be done before the others. It is our understanding that there is no certainty as to when the others will be done. We were led to believe at one of the information sessions that a two-year window was most likely before projects could be completed.

We are pleased to see that there is momentum relating to addressing our traffic dilemma. However, we feel strongly that a series of related projects not be allowed to simply follow mechanical, physical time paths to fit into a bureaucratic nicety, when the pacing could increase the risk of accidents, perhaps some of which are fatal.

We strongly feel that the service road aspects of the Route 1 & Minos Conaway Road be in place before the stoplights at Route 1 and Route 16 are removed.

Finally, we strongly encourage that a strategy be employed which removes through traffic sourced on Routes. 1, 9, and 24 from the Lewes section of Route 1.

The Lewes section already has dense-enough traffic. It will benefit both the Lewes/Rehoboth communities and those simply passing through, who won’t have to suffer reduced-speed, stop-and-go, stoplight travel.

This could be created by using eminent domain and obtaining the necessary, primarily farm, land located north of Red Mill Pond and turning south, but west of Plantation Road down to Route 24.

Harry L. Winn Jr.
Dorothy M. Winn
Nassau Grove

 

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