To accommodate the holiday traffic, major road projects in the area have been put on hold from Thursday, May 26, to Monday, May 30. After that, lane closures will be prohibited on Route 26 and Route 113 during peak daytime hours.
The Delaware Department of Transportation (DelDOT) is still encouraging motorists to drive carefully through construction zones. Flaggers and traffic cones will direct vehicles through lane closures.
For specific details on road construction projects, DelDOT offers several resources for public information:
• All project information is online at www.deldot.gov/information/projects.
• Road closures and travel advisories are online at www.deldot.gov/information/travel_advisory.
• The “DelDOT” mobile app is available for Apple or Android phones.
Route 113 on the highway
DelDOT has multiple projects under way to improve traffic safety along Dupont Boulevard (Route 113). In the medians of Route 113, many highway crossovers have been reconstructed to encourage channelized turns or U-turns.
Meanwhile, the intersection at U.S. Route 113 and Dagsboro Road/Handy Road is being expanded. The busy traffic signal backs up frequently in response to beach-bound traffic.
The anticipated end date for the work is June 30. The original project end date was May 24, but that was before a hiccup in road design.
“Dagsboro Road was originally concrete. The plan told us to [use] hot mix” for the new roadway, said Sarah Criswell, DelDOT area engineer. “Then, in the middle of construction, we ran into some soft surface soils, and we switched the plan back to concrete, which is what you see back there.”
To improve the holiday commute, DelDOT asked the contractor (Allan Meyers Co.) to delay milling until after the Memorial Day weekend, so vehicles wouldn’t have to rattle over unfinished roadway for several days until paving begins. After that, painting, striping and signage will be the only things left to be completed.
Starting May 31, lane closures may only occur at night on Route 113. But closures are still permitted at any time on Dagsboro and Handy Roads.
Night work has two schedules there, from 8 p.m. to 6 a.m., depending on the traffic flow of vacationers. Northbound closures are allowed from Monday nights to Friday mornings. Southbound closures are allowed from Sunday nights to Thursday mornings.
Traffic signals hang over the intersection on new mast-arms. These are special “because they line up the signal in the lane a little better” and are better spaced with the stop bars in each lane, Criswell said.
Project details are available online at www.deldot.gov/information/projects/sussex_county_us113 or by calling DelDOT Community Relations at (302) 760-2080.
Route 26 to the beach
This is the last summer of roadwork on the Route 26 Mainline Improvements project, from Clarksville to the western edge of Bethany Beach.
Construction may continue at any time, but after May 30, lane closures are only permitted from 9 p.m. to 8 a.m. on Monday nights through Friday mornings.
During weekdays, lane shifts are permitted if two lanes of traffic are maintained.
But on weekends, regular traffic lanes must be open from Friday mornings through Monday nights.
“If we hadn’t had the three weeks of weather, we’d be paving now. But everything is going according to plan,” said project spokesperson Ken Cimino. “We’ll start milling [removing the top layer of road surface] on May 31, with lane shifts. By mid-June we hope to do the final paving with the final 2-inch wearing surface. So it won’t be long.”
Before the recent three weeks of nearly non-stop rain, project contractor George & Lynch had created an internal completion deadline of July. They’re still loosely aiming to complete most of the roadway by mid-July, said Cimino.
Despite their summertime goals, DelDOT officials reminded the public that the official working contract deadline is Sept. 16, so work may continue until then. That includes about 75 “weather days” since the project began in early 2014. The original project completion date was June 24, and “despite all the rain this spring, we’re gonna be pretty doggone close to hitting that,” said Cimino.
Sidewalks in the project are almost finished, and the shared center left-turn lane has already improved traffic flow from Old Mill Drive (next to Food Lion) to the Assawoman Canal bridge at Bethany Beach.
To keep traffic moving on Route 26, DelDOT has also smoothed some corners at the Clarksville intersection at St. George’s United Methodist Church. The new signal there was activated on Monday. Traffic utilizing Omar Road at the intersection must now turn onto Powell Farm Road briefly in order to proceed onto or off of Route 26 at the light.
The changes there are meant to improve the road safety by reducing the likelihood of crashes at the intersection.
The traffic signal at Central Avenue and Cedar Drive in Ocean View was meant as a temporary traffic control measure during the detours of early 2015, but the Town of Ocean View successfully petitioned DelDOT to make that a permanent signal. The current temporary structure will be replaced with a long-term structure by the year’s end.
The temporary signal at Central and Windmill Drive was recently removed entirely, after having shifted from stop-and-go operation early in the project to blinking yellow/red in recent months.
There haven’t been many issues with the project lately, officials said, although road crews have had to revisit drainage. With water sometimes pooling on properties, the design team responded by approving new drains or reshaping some pavement.
Several back roads were upgraded to help alleviate traffic impacts along the 4-mile construction project. Alternate routes include Burbage Road, Windmill Drive, Central Avenue and Beaver Dam Road.
Those with questions or concerns can contact Ken Cimino at (302) 616-2621, or Kenneth.firstname.lastname@example.org or at 17 Atlantic Avenue, Suite 2, in Ocean View.
The project website is at www.deldot.gov/information/projects/sr26/index.shtml, where people can also sign up for weekly email updates.
Sussex County is working parallel to the Route 26 Mainline project to install sewers in the area of Route 17, but those aren’t operational yet.