Millsboro bypass included in forecast
Each year, the Delaware Department of Transportation (DelDOT) develops a six-year Capital Transportation Plan (CTP) that identifies future projects and costs.
The Council on Transportation, which is appointed by the governor, has already reviewed the proposed CTP for fiscal years 2017 to 2022, and the plan is now available for public comment, which included a Sept. 24 public hearing in Georgetown.
The broad plan included the updated costs for a North Millsboro bypass, connecting Route 113 to Route 24, aimed at alleviating traffic in downtown Millsboro and replacing a previous proposal for a 16.5-mile Route 113 bypass. The proposed bypass was rated at 52 out of 94 statewide priorities (found online at www.deldot.gov/information/pubs_forms/CTP/ctp17-22/FY17-FY22-CTPProposed...).
Engineering and design are intended to continue through the 2021 fiscal year, when land acquisitions will begin. DelDOT estimated $3.7 million in State funding and $14.96 million in federal funding will be needed in the first six-year period, through 2022.
If approved by state legislators and the public, construction is expected to begin in the 2023 or 2024 fiscal years. Overall, the entire project is estimated at $84 million in costs.
(A Millsboro bypass public workshop will be held Oct. 14, from 4 to 7 p.m. at Millsboro Town Hall. People can learn about changes to the Route 113 project that were announced in April. But that is not an official hearing. That will come later, once the project’s environmental impact statement is drafted.)
Other projects in the six-year plan include improvements and renovations to bridges, pedestrian crossings, grading and intersections.
DelDOT representatives also shared other topics for future planning, such as expanded bus service in Millsboro and Selbyville, and bicycle-friendly transit.
Mable Granke of Rehoboth Beach said she found the public meeting on Sept. 24 to be “bedlam.” She was expecting “an honest presentation to a group that was listening all at once in the same ways.
She, like many people, had attended to learn about proposed projects along Route 1 in Lewes and Rehoboth Beach, including the controversial Overlook Town Center and a connector to New Road.
“I’m not necessary against them. I just want to know, do they have accurate traffic counts? Do they know” in reality how this will work? Granke said.
She also wants better bus schedules. Although public transit routes are getting better about servicing major employers, she said the schedules don’t align with the actual work shifts’ start and end times.
People at the meeting got a glimpse at a number of projects already under way or coming soon. That includes: adding turn lanes and shoulders in front of Sussex Central High School; adding turn lanes to the intersection of Route 24 and Oak Orchard Road; and changing several Route 113 crossovers, near Millsboro Food Lion and Georgetown McDonald’s, allowing vehicles to turn at the medians, but not completely cross the highway without making a U-turn.
DelDOT is also in the midst of streamlining traffic via reducing direct access to Route 1 by building a series of highway overpasses from Kent County to Lewes.
According to DelDOT, Delaware law requires the CTP hearings “to ensure that the public has ample opportunity to participate in the planning process.”
People were invited to write down their comments or recite them to a court reporter. Citizens are still being invited to express their views in writing, giving reasons to support or oppose the proposed projects, via mail to DelDOT Public Relations; P.O. Box 778; Dover, DE 19903, or email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Learn more online at www.deldot.gov/information/pubs_forms/CTP/index.shtml. For further information, contact DelDOT Public Relations at 1-800-652-5600 (in Delaware) or (302) 760-2080.