Responding to requests from state Rep. Ruth Briggs King and state Sen. Brian Pettyjohn, an all-way stop will be implemented at Indian Mission Road and Harmons Hill Road-Phillips Branch Road in Long Neck.

Briggs King made the announcement this week, by e-mail, saying it’s a short-term solution, but that a roundabout at that location “will be examined as a longer-term solution.”

Turn restrictions will be implemented at Zoar Road and Patriots Way, in conjunction with implementing an all-way stop at Zoar Road and Peterkins Road. After installation, a separate study could occur at Zoar Road and Governor Stockley Road to see if a similar concept could be pursued, Briggs King said.

Delaware Department of Transportation Secretary Jennifer Cohan, responding to the safety concerns in that area, stated that DelDOT officials “recognize this intersection is a major concern, and we’re hopeful with these improvements the intersection’s crash rate will improve in the short term while we address the long-term needs.”

A public meeting is likely to be scheduled in the near future to further discuss recommended improvements, Briggs King said.

In mid-January, reacting to constituents’ concerns about traffic safety in the Long Neck area, she announced that she had asked Cohan to “go beyond the crash data and look at the near misses” along roads in that area.

“Especially over the past couple of years, I have been steadfast in my efforts to work with DelDOT to ensure that safety improvements continue to be made on Indian Mission Road, as well as along Zoar Road, Harmons Hill Road and Mount Joy Road, which are typically heavily traveled roadways that seem to attract high speed driving. I said, ‘I’m going to the secretary. She has been very responsive’ and she agreed to look into it,” Briggs King said.

During the summer, she and Pettyjohn hosted a public meeting in Long Neck for citizens to talk about their concerns with representatives from DelDOT, the Delaware State Police and emergency responders. Afterward, plans were made and, Briggs King said, progress began.

“Unfortunately, though, to many, the improvements are not being completed fast enough. Additionally, new development in the area, resulting in increased traffic along these roads, has added more challenges to the mix. There is a problem with people speeding, but it’s not just speeding. It’s near-misses,” the representative said.

Pedestrians often walk on Long Neck area roads at night, going in the wrong direction and wearing dark clothing.

“Secretary Cohan has promised to revisit this issue and related traffic concerns, as well as provide solutions to legislators by February. She said she will get back to us by February, and she was scheduled to be on WGMD radio this week to talk about this,” Briggs King said.

Cohan has suggested heavier police patrols, although Briggs King said one problem is that officers are busy on other calls. She said Cohan also suggested additional state funding to possibly hire more officers.

“I remain committed to seeing this through for local residents, continuing to diligently address these traffic safety concerns with DelDOT and local law enforcement. I appreciate local residents’ continued advocacy on this important issue, as the safety on Route 5, Indian Mission Road and adjoining intersections remains a top priority of mine,” she said.

Staff Reporter

Veteran news reporter Susan Canfora has written for many newspapers and held positions ranging from managing editor to her favorite, news reporter. She joined the Coastal Point in June 2019. She teaches college writing, tutors and professionally edits.