According to officials from Delmarva Power, and seconded by those from the Delaware Department of Transportation (DelDOT), as of June 30, there will be no more lane closures on Route 26 due to the Route 26 Mainline Project that has been somewhat strangling traffic flow along the busy road the past few months.
This is welcome news for many of the businesses that happen to exist on Route 26 and have seen visitors finding alternate routes to drive in hopes of avoiding traffic.
This situation is more than a little reminiscent of last year’s project along Route 54. Several businesses reported sharp declines in sales because people were simply avoiding the road, and thus those businesses.
Look, we need the work done on our roads, and the widened road on Route 26 in Bethany Beach has been a great help, as well as all the work done on Route 54 last year. But the fact of the matter is that this area’s economy relies on a five-month window from late sping through early fall, and even the smallest deviation in revenue during that time period can prove fatal to a business.
This is not Wilmington or Dover, which have a consistent business climate and can manage through major projects because there is always time to make it up later. There is no “later” here, and the State must factor that into the equation when planning projects here. It’s similar to the situation at some of our local beaches. The work has not gotten done following Hurricane Sandy, and now there are areas where people cannot access the beach.
And it’s summer.
We do applaud DelDOT for stopping weekend road closures the past few weeks, as that has certainly helped with congestion. But starting June 30, it is time for people to no longer fear the drive along Route 26, and stop by the local shops and restaurants that call the road home.
Last week we discussed the need for everybody to be a little more cautious this time of year because of increased pedestrian traffic. We have already seen several fatal incidents along the beach and surrounding areas this year, and it seems the problem only gets worse every summer season.
Well, we got a reminder last week that bicyclists are also in danger along our roads, when a woman died riding her bicycle near the Indian River Inlet.
Drivers, please keep your eyes focused on the task at hand when you are operating a motor vehicle. And, bicyclists and pedestrians, we advise the same. Please, take care out there.