DelDOT begins final phase of Little Heaven Project

 

Traffic on Del. 1 northbound will be only one lane on Tuesday Feb. 27, from 9 am to 8 p.m at Skeeter Neck Road near Little Heaven. (Delaware State News/Marc Clery)

DOVER — This is the year that the Delaware Department of Transportation is expected to complete the construction project on Del. 1 and the often-hectic two-mile stretch of highway between Little Heaven and Frederica.

The remaining pieces of the $40 million puzzle that is known as the Del. 1 Little Heaven Grade Separated Intersection Project are starting to get under way.

The project is designed to improve traffic flow toward Delaware’s beaches when it is completed in early fall, DelDOT spokesman Greg Layton said.

Craig Blowers, the engineer overseeing the project, was unavailable for comment on Friday.

Mr. Layton said the Little Heaven project has presented its fair share of challenges.

“The biggest challenge has been working with utility companies to relocate their lines and other infrastructure,” he said last year. “We haven’t run into any problems, but because of the length of the project there has been a lot to coordinate.”

On Wednesday, DelDOT officials announced the latest lane closures that will begin next Tuesday on Del. 1 northbound near south Skeeter Neck Road.

The lane closures will be in effect between 9 a.m. and 8 p.m. on Tuesday.

The work will complete the traffic switch for Del. 1 northbound onto its temporary alignment. One lane will remain open to motorists throughout the construction and motorists can anticipate delays in this area.

As part of the work, a new traffic signal will be activated on Tuesday at Bowers Beach Road, where it intersects the temporary alignment of Del. 1 northbound.

The overall purpose of the construction project — which will take three years to complete — is to build a highway bridge over Bowers Beach Road in Little Heaven and a pair of service roads that will flank Del. 1 in that area.

The work will eventually allow for uninterrupted traffic flow while service roads will permit both north and southbound travel on Del. 1 to continue during construction. Ramps eventually will be installed to allow traffic off and onto Bowers Beach Road.

DelDOT Secretary Jennifer Cohan said the headaches will soon be coming to an end as the project is expected to be completed in early fall.

“It’s going to be inconvenient during construction,” she said, “but once we’re done it’ll be much safer and easier for the locals to move around as well as getting the traffic and tourists to the beaches quicker and safer.”

Ms. Cohan stressed that the work is being done to eventually make things easier at the Little Heaven project’s groundbreaking ceremony on Nov. 8, 2015.

“We want our customers, the residents of Delaware and our guests, to understand that, although road projects might cause short-term delays, we are working for the long-term safety and efficiency of the state’s transportation network,” Ms. Cohan said. “We are ‘making strides to improve your ride.’”

The Little Heaven construction project area is home to approximately 1,480 residents that reside in the area’s 356 housing units. Most of those residents live within the five residential subdivisions of Barker’s Landing, High Point, Tara, Bakers Choice and Ocean Drive Manor.

Several future residential subdivisions have also been proposed in close proximity to the project area.

Karri McCoy, of Bowers Beach, said life has been crazy in the area since the construction began.

“It’s been crazy and chaotic,” she said. “One road’s shut down and another one’s open. You have to do your homework and find out which road’s going to be open today and which one’s closed.”

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

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