Rieley: Freight train coming down Route 9

Sussex councilman says time is now to address potential increase in traffic
February 9, 2024

During a Delaware Department of Transportation update on transportation improvement districts, Sussex County Councilman John Rieley said more attention needs to be paid to the impact of two possible developments in close proximity along Route 9 west of Lewes.

The presentation was made during council’s Feb. 9 meeting.

Proposed are Northstar, across from the Vineyards community, with 758 single-family homes, 94 multifamily affordable units and 96,000 square feet of commercial space along Route 9 on 433 acres, and Cool Spring Crossing, at the Route 9-Cool Spring Road intersection, with 727 single-family homes, 911 townhomes, 300 condominiums and 451,000 square feet of commercial space on 637 acres.

“There is a freight train coming down the tracks on Route 9,” he said, adding if approved, the projects would at least double the traffic load along the two-lane road. “I think it would be a good decision to widen Route 9 from Route 1 to Gravel Hill Road to four lanes because this area is getting ready to blow up,” he said. “The roads are five to 10 years behind the development and it’s going to be a problem. I don’t want to create a nightmare there. Most people see it because it’s coming.”

DelDOT has plans to widen Route 9 in two phases from Route 1 to Old Vine Boulevard and then from Old Vine Boulevard to Dairy Farm Road. However, preliminary work is not scheduled to begin for at least another three to five years, with no date set for construction.

In addition, he said Cave Neck Road and Hudson Road are substandard to handle additional traffic.

Rieley said he realizes developers will be required to fund road improvements in the area, but the total of work needed would far exceed what a developer could spend.

“This needs to be on the radar. I think we need to meet with the top people at DelDOT and have a heart to heart,” he said. “These two developments are like new towns. We need road work to be done faster.”


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