DelDOT makes progress on South Frederica project

 

Construction continues at the Frederica Interchange Project on Tuesday.( Delaware State News/Marc Clery)

MILFORD — If you’ve taken Del. 1 through Milford at all in the past year, it’s been impossible to miss the construction taking place in the area.

The Delaware Department of Transportation is investing $100 million in the Frederica-Milford corridor, with projects designed to improve safety and traffic flow.

One of DelDOT’s main focuses right now is a grade-separated junction expected to ease traffic for cars heading into and out of the DE Turf.

Currently, drivers can only enter the sports complex from Del. 1 north, meaning those traveling south from Dover, Wilmington or any other area must cross over on Del. 1 at some point south of the facility.

While traffic has not impeded the flow on the roadway during tournaments at the DE Turf so far, according to the facility’s executive director, the interchange should be a welcome addition for many.

Once the project is complete next summer, drivers will be able to take an interchange, passing over Del. 1 to change direction. The existing intersection at Milford Neck Road and Tub Mill Pond Road will be removed, and Frederica Road will be extended to connect with Tub Mill Pond Road.

The project began in spring 2016 and carries a cost of $20 million, about $16 million of which comes from the federal government. While the interchange won’t be done for more than six months, the Frederica Road extension could open as soon as next week.

“The engines are really starting to move,” DE Turf Executive Director Chris Giacomucci said Tuesday.

He was among a small group of people who braved the cold — officially around 49 degrees but feeling much chillier — to view the progress made thus far.

Attendees, including Gov. John Carney, expressed enthusiasm for the project and the DE Turf.

The 12-field sports complex opened this spring and has hosted a number of tourneys thus far, with a lacrosse event featuring teams from several states scheduled for this weekend.

DelDOT Area Engineer Craig Blowers explains the construction progress as Gov. John Carney looks on during a visit to the Frederica Interchange Project on Tuesday. (Delaware State News/Marc Clery)

Supporters have estimated an annual economic impact of $18 million after the first 10 years, with visitors staying in area hotels and eating at local restaurants. A typical tournament sees about 1,500 cars, according to Mr. Giacomucci.

The interchange will come with a park and ride containing about 250 spaces to allow easier carpooling, such as for visits to the beach.

DelDOT plans to place beams on the interchange after Thanksgiving, which will require the closure of Del. 1 southbound one night and Del. 1 northbound the next.

Less than a mile north of the South Frederica construction, DelDOT is currently working on an interchange in Little Heaven. The span there will extend Del. 1 over Bowers Beach Road and include service roads on both sides of Del. 1. It is scheduled to open in fall 2018.

Officials hope the investment in infrastructure in southern Kent will pay off in a big way.

“Kent County has a capacity for economic development,” Rep. Lyndon Yearick, R-Camden, said.

Staff writer Matt Bittle can be reached at 741-8250 or mbittle@newszap.com. Follow @MatthewCBittle on Twitter.

Reach staff writer Matt Bittle at mbittle@newszap.com

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