DE Turf traffic plan faces first test for major event

 

The DE Turf sports complex south of Frederica. (Special To The Delaware State) News/Gary Emeigh

FREDERICA — Traffic safety officials believe their plan to keep vehicles moving steadily and safely through a busy corridor with an added destination will work out.

Between 1,000 to 1,500 vehicles may arrive at DE Turf from 7 a.m. to 11 a.m. Saturday via Del. 1 for an 84-team youth field hockey event.

The sports showcase is the facility’s first large scale event following a soft opening within the past month.

The additional traffic still won’t add up to a busy beach weekend in July, the Delaware Department of Transportation said Thursday.

The roadway between south of Dover through Frederica and Milford is designed to handle 3,600 vehicles hourly smoothly, barring unforeseen accident or weather issues.

To minimize risk, DelDOT will eliminate northbound and southbound crossover turn areas during the peak hours of DE Turf arrivals.

Northbound motorists will be guided to the Exit 86/North Frederica Interchange to enter Del. 1 southbound, DelDOT said. Southbound motorists will be channeled to Exit 79/Thompsonville Interchange to access Del. 1 northbound.

Officials expect all crossovers from Tub Mill Pond Road to Milford Neck Road to be open by noon.

“This is a good, safe plan,” DelDOT Special Events Manager for the Traffic Section Michael Rivera said on Thursday.

Months of planning and meetings with DE Turf officials and the Delaware State Police were enhanced by town hall style meetings DelDOT held to answer local resident’s concerns about event-related heavier traffic patterns.

“It is our intent to minimize the impact of (roadway adjustments) to local residents and businesses,” Mr. Rivera said.

Mr. Rivera applauded the efforts of DE Turf administrators and the Delaware State Police in coming together to address traffic concerns.

“The attitude of the folks at DE Turf has been fantastic,” Mr. Rivera said. “They are very easy to get in touch with and are always very amenable and receptive to the ideas we have.”

According to DelDOT, over 2,000 vehicles may pass southbound through the area from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. on a typical Saturday in July. At 4 p.m. vehicles drop to approximately 1,500.

To assist travelers, DelDOT has placed extra message boards throughout the area with traffic directions.

The crossover areas will be closed with cones that can be moved if needed by first responders and emergency personnel.

Mr. Rivera said DelDOT will monitor the area on Saturday and respond where and when needed.

Expected to join the under 14- to under 19-year-old athletes and their families are 75 college coaches from 18 states.

DE Turf traffic

The Delaware Department of Transportation will close crossovers surrounding the Delaware Turf Sports Complex during upcoming events on April 14-15 and April 29-30.

Crossovers between DE Turf and the Thompsonville interchange will be closed from 7 a.m. to 11 a.m. on Del. 1 northbound and southbound. Motorists traveling northbound will be detoured to the Exit 86/North Frederica Interchange to access Del. 1 southbound. Motorists traveling southbound will be detoured to Exit 79/Thompsonville Interchange to access Del. 1 northbound.

The three crossovers to the north, between the Sports Complex and the North Frederica interchange, will be closed from noon until 6 p.m. to safely facilitate traffic exiting the Sports Complex. Northbound traffic destined for points south will be detoured to Exit 86/North Frederica interchange where they can then access Del. 1 southbound. Southbound Del. 1 traffic wishing to utilize one of the three closed crossovers north of the venue are encouraged to use Exit 79/Thompsonville Interchange. However, all crossovers from Tub Mill Pond Road/Milford Neck Road, and south should be open by noon.

Each month, DelDOT will alert motorists in advance of the crossover closures.

DelDOT said in an effort to further reduce the impact to residents and businesses, there will be a left-turn only on Del. 1 northbound at the Tub Mill Pond Road intersection to allow motorists to access Del. 1 southbound and Tub Mill Pond Road to the west.

Further information of upcoming events at the Delaware Sports Complex is available online at delawaresports.org/venues/de-turf-sports-complex.

Message boards will be displayed to notify motorists of the upcoming traffic patterns.

Reach staff writer Craig Anderson at canderson@newszap.com

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