A traffic signal is planned for the intersection of Freeman Highway and Monroe Avenue in Lewes as part of road improvements for the Olde Town at White’s Pond major subdivision.
Even without the upcoming development, the intersection has been viewed by many as a safety concern because the Junction and Breakwater Trail runs parallel on the south side of Freeman Highway and the Lewes-to-Georgetown Trail runs parallel on the north side. There is also a trailhead at the intersection, with many bicyclists and pedestrians crossing Freeman Highway instead of traveling to where the trails meet at the Freeman Bridge.
When the development was discussed at an August 2019 public hearing, the developer’s engineer, Ring Lardner of Davis, Bowen and Friedel, said a traffic signal justification study determined there was no need for a traffic signal, but the ultimate decision was to be made by the Delaware River & Bay Authority, which owns that stretch of Freeman Highway.
The plan now includes a signal and several roadway improvements to Freeman Highway and Monroe Avenue. Freeman Highway will have left-turn, right-turn and through lanes in both directions, while Monroe will have through and right-turn lanes. At its March 8 meeting, Lewes Mayor and City Council agreed to dedicate 10 feet of its trailhead property to public right of way to provide more space for a turn lane on Monroe.
The plan includes pedestrian poles to stop traffic. There are also DART bus stops planned for both sides of Freeman Highway.
Olde Town at White’s Pond, previously known as Showfield Lewes and White’s Pond Meadow, is proposed to be 85 single-family homes on 37 acres. The property was once included as part of the Showfield development plan, but was separated when Showfield was resubmitted to Sussex County officials in 2014.
Lardner said the developer has one more meeting with the Department of Transportation, and he expects to submit the final subdivision plan to the city for approval in April.