Dagsboro residents can expect a sweeping curve at Main Street (Clayton Avenue) and Route 26 in their future.
Officials from the Delaware Department of Transportation (DelDOT) held an informal presentation on Feb. 3, bringing several projects in downtown Dagsboro together in one complete package.
According to DelDOT’s Anthony Aglio (project planner), the department would start with inexpensive, short-term solutions to the summer bottleneck and go from there.
He said they were also considering a change to the signs on Route 113 that direct beach traffic through Dagsboro.
“We would change them to read, ‘Bethany Beach, use Route 20/26 — Fenwick Island/Ocean City, stay on Route 113,’” Aglio pointed out.
He planned to run the idea by the town of Selbyville officials before implementation.
The town has already taken the initiative on one DelDOT recommendation, by lowering the speed limit through town to 25 miles per hour.
Aglio said the department had also recommended a lower speed limit heading south toward Indian River High School (30 miles per hour).
He also noted plans to resurface and restripe, with a possible change at northbound Main Street.
There, trucks turning right onto Route 26 typically have to swing wide into the through lane. DelDOT would constrict an existing median (painted) to create a wider right turn lane.
Mid-term projects included a reconfiguration near Main Street and Iron Branch Road, where two offices at the corner (Communications & Wiring, High Tide Baptist) empty into a confusing intersection.
A concrete median there splits traffic from Iron Branch onto Piney Neck, but visitors exiting the corner plaza have to veer right and then take a left beyond the median. Otherwise, they will be turning into oncoming, one-way traffic.
According to Bob Martin, of engineering firm JMT, Iron Branch had slipped under the radar to become a heavily traveled road.
Martin said they hadn’t anticipated increased traffic on Iron Branch — it doesn’t seem to go anywhere in particular.
However, through talking to the locals, they’d found that it was a favorite back way to Millsboro, he said.
Martin outlined some transportation enhancement possibilities. With the increased traffic on Iron Branch, a pedestrian bridge over the intermittent stream should help people avoid that dangerous intersection, he pointed out.
Sidewalks through town, from Iron Branch to the Indian River High School, and over to the new high school, along the access road, were an option.
Martin said they would follow Dagsboro water works (mains going under the sidewalks).
“Those sidewalks are already in poor-to-fair condition, and that would put the water closer to the houses, too,” he explained.
Transportation enhancement could also follow Route 26 where it becomes Clayton Street at the traffic light midway downtown (and jogs east-west again, toward Route 113).
DelDOT’s Joe Cantalupo (regional planning) said crosswalks at Routes 26 and 113 might come into the picture, too — assuming future annexation by the town.
Cantalupo pointed out several potential designs for “traffic calming” through town, including landscaping and decorative signs to remind motorists they were entering a small town.
He said drivers instinctively slowed down as the roadway narrowed, and suggested options like a well-marked parking lane or landscaped “neckdowns.”
The biggest aspect of the project remains the sweeping curve.
According to Martin, the plan is to make Route 26 the through road.
Local traffic to and from Frankford would enter at a midpoint on the curve.
Northbound Main Street would jog toward the northeast and meet a stop sign, southbound Main Street would slide out of the curve into a right turn lane.
There’s still plenty of time for input on the project, and all the information is available online, at www.deldot.net.
Click the “Community Programs and Services” link, then scroll down to “Community Transportation Plan,” or call DelDOT public relations at (800) 652-5600 for more information.