DelDOT aims to fix Dover intersection

DOVER — It can get time consuming, hectic and downright dangerous for travelers heading to the west side of Dover through the Forrest Avenue (Del. 8) and Saulsbury Road (Del. 15) intersection during the late afternoon hours.

The Delaware Department of Transportation (DelDOT) said it is aware of the problem and intends to address it.
The department will do that with an estimated $3 million project that is expected to take six months to complete in the summer of 2021.

The project is included in the 2012 Hazard Elimination Program for capacity and safety improvements.
John Gaines, project manager for DelDOT, said that the proposed improvements will extend the roadway section to the north and through the intersection with Forrest Avenue-Saulsbury Road.

“It’s going to have some major impacts (in the area), so it’s going to be restrictive on the timing. This is something we’ll need to address quickly,” he said.

The most impacted section of roadway, located on Saulsbury Road between the CVS Pharmacy and Royal Farms, will have two thru lanes in each direction — as opposed to the current single lane in each direction — with turn lanes as needed.

There will be a multi-use path on the eastern side of the road and a sidewalk on the western side. Bike lanes will also be provided.

Travelers headed north on Saulsbury Road following the intersection will have a lane drop back into a single lane.
The center-left turn lane on Saulsbury Road will remain for most of the roadway heading to the Walker Road intersection.

“The project’s intent is to reduce the congestion in that area,” Mr. Gaines said. “Right now, the left turns at that intersection can be a little tricky.
“Ideally, with adding another thru lane in each direction, plus the revisions we will make to the (traffic signal), will allow us to do that.

“Currently, left turns go at the same time (at the intersection), but after the project it will be split times. The northbound turns will occur all at once and then the southbound turns will go.”

Mr. Gaines said if travelers want to know what the renovated intersection will look like, they only need to look a couple of blocks to the south on Saulsbury Road, at the intersection with North Street and the POW/MIA Parkway.

“That is very similar to how the intersection at Forrest Avenue intersection will look and function,” he said.

Mr. Gaines expects that the peak-hour delays will be greatly reduced with the proposed improvements. With the added thru-lane capacity and signal improvements, the left-turn delays should be greatly reduced.
He is also anticipating a safer intersection at Saulsbury Road/Forrest Avenue.

He said there have been 94 accidents reported near the intersection between January 2015 through December 2018, including 37 rear-end accidents at the intersection that he said are indicative of the lack of capacity through the signalized intersection.

“Design is underway and right of way acquisition will begin this fall,” Mr. Gaines said.

“We have been meeting with property owners to review the proposed improvements.”

Delaware State News staff writer Mike Finney can be reached at mfinney@newszap.com.

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