Deciding that stop signs wouldn’t be enough for a Roxana intersection, Delaware Department of Transportation (DelDOT) has opted for a new traffic signal on Route 20 (Zion Church Road). Installation has begun on the new green light and pedestrian crossing at the intersection of Bayard Road/Johnson Road.

DelDOT will work almost round-the-clock, but not on weekends. Construction is scheduled for weekdays through mid-July, mostly in double shifts from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. and again from 9 p.m. to 5 a.m.

“We have expedited many projects due to reduced traffic volumes during the pandemic,” said Kathryn Beasley, a DelDOT community relations officer.

Motorists should drive cautiously; watch for flaggers directing traffic; and “be aware that construction personnel and equipment will be operating in close proximity to the travel lanes,” officials said.

Although lane closures will occur, there will not be a full road closure or detour route.

The cross streets will have loop detectors under the pavement, which senses when a vehicle is waiting to cross Route 20. The surrounding speed limits will not be changed as part of this project.

Until now, Route 20 traffic has always flowed unimpeded, and only the two crossroads had stop signs. With thousands of new homes already built or forthcoming in southeast Sussex County, rising vehicle collisions had prompted local legislators to request a traffic study, after which, DelDOT initially proposed a four-way stop.

“Considering the results, traffic volume growth, and our analysis of the crash trends and intersection operation, we are recommending the location be pursued as a traffic signal instead of an all-way stop,” DelDOT announced.

During the virtual workshop for public comments, a slight majority of the public and the Delaware State Police opposed an all-way stop as an interim measure. “Major concerns were: queuing along DE Route 20 [and] stop compliance,” officials said.

Also, “A recent traffic impact study for development activity indicates the intersection will continue to grow from a traffic volume perspective.”

The DelDOT Traffic Signal Construction Section will work in conjunction with Byers Electric for the new mast pole signal, signage and other installations, all costing approximately $262,000.

More information about the traffic study can be found on the project website (https://deldot.gov/projects/Studies/DE20-JohnsonBayardRd/).

Staff Reporter

Laura Walter is an award-winning reporter on schools, environment, people and history. A graduate of Indian River High School and Washington College, she has rappelled off a building and assisted a magician, and encourages readers to act on local issues.