Construction begins on Route 26 improvements

Beach-bound traffic will experience the first official lane closures of the Route 26 Mainline Improvements Project next week, as the Delaware Department of Transportation (DelDOT) got the go-ahead this week to begin construction on the years-long project. DelDOT is using the relatively quiet winter months to get contractors George & Lynch started before the heavy traffic of summer arrives.

The project will begin in the west, with a segment running from Powell Farm Road to Route 17 (Roxana Road) in Clarksville.

This week, from Monday to Friday, Jan. 13 to 17, crews were to continue clearing and grubbing (removing trees, shrubs, stumps, and rubbish) along the eastbound side of Route 26, with no lane closures expected.

From Tuesday to Friday, Jan. 21 to 24, that work is to continue, but motorists should anticipate the eastbound lane to be closed from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Traffic will alternate in the westbound lane, as directed by flaggers.

The back roads expected to serve as alternate routes during the project were improved prior to the start of the mainline project, so those seeking to avoid lane closures can seek out a new way to get around that could result in less of a delay.

When completed, the project will bring a center turn lane and a 5-foot shoulder to more than 4 miles of the road, as well as 5-foot shoulders/bike lanes, from the Assawoman Canal in Bethany Beach to St. George’s U.M. Church in Clarksville.

West of Millville’s Railway Road will be an “open section of roadway, meaning no curbing or gutters,” DelDOT officials wrote in announcing the start of construction this week. Eastward to the Assawoman Canal will be a “closed section of roadway,” having both curbing and gutters, with drainage into an underground pipe system. Sidewalks will be provided from Windmill Road to the canal.

Dover-based George & Lynch submitted a successful bid of $24,996,596.16 for the 901-calendar-day project. Foul weather, such as rainstorms and blizzards, could push the schedule beyond the scheduled September 2016 end date.

“Please know that DelDOT will be making every effort to keep you all apprised on the construction on SR26, as we know this is a heavily travelled area,” DelDOT wrote to Sussex County legislators recently in an email forwarded by state Rep. Ron. Gray (R-38th). “We will continue to provide updates on upcoming work on Route 26 as information becomes available. As always, we thank you for your patience.”

DelDOT is encouraging the public to stay informed about the project and potential traffic impacts. People can “Subscribe” to the project’s email list at

Information will also be included in DelDOT’s Road Closures & Restrictions Report, which is updated on Fridays at 2 p.m., online at

For more information, contact DelDOT Public Relations at (800) 652-5600 (in Delaware) or (302) 760-2080, or the project’s Ocean View field office, through Ken Cimino (on-site public outreach coordinator) or Bradford Saborio (on-site project manager), by calling (302) 616-2621 or writing to 17 Atlantic Avenue, Suite 2; Ocean View, DE 19970.