Key DelDOT projects updated

Gov. John Carney and transportation secretary Jennifer Cohan get a briefing on upcoming paving projects and advantages and disadvantages of cold mix paving Monday. (Special to the Delaware State News/Gary Emeigh)

DOVER — The Department of Transportation is set to spend just over $700 million on projects in Kent County over the next seven years.

The spending plan for the fiscal year started July 1 totals almost $137 million for Kent, and the proposed Capital Transportation Program that runs from July 1, 2019, through June 30, 2025, would allocate about $565 million to Delaware’s middle county.

Projects include an alternate route around Camden, intended to divert traffic from the center of town, and various improvements to Del. Route 1 south of Dover and stretching down to Milford.

In total, DelDOT is expected to spend about $3.99 billion through the end of fiscal year 2025. Not all of that comes from Delaware taxpayers, they said — the sum also includes federal funding.

For larger projects, a majority of funding comes from Washington, D.C.

“We couldn’t be more excited. … Long-term investments, that’s what we’re all about,” Transportation Secretary Jennifer Cohan said.

The department on Monday hosted a presentation of planned capital spending, emphasizing the efforts it is taking to upgrade Delaware’s infrastructure.

In southeastern Kent, work started on Route 1 in early 2015 is nearing completion. Construction of a grade-separated intersection at Little Heaven is expected to be finished in the spring, while a similar intersection at Northeast Front Street in Milford will likely be done in early 2020.

The department held a ribbon-cutting for the long-anticipated South Frederica interchange in August. An intersection at Thompsonville Road just north of Milford opened two years ago.

The Route 1 improvements cover a 31-mile stretch, crossing county lines. In total, they stretch from the Dover Air Force Base to Nassau, just east of Lewes.

While the Kent County work along Route 1 is nearing its end, projects in Sussex are yet to come, with intersections where Route 1 meets Minos Conaway Road and Broadkill Road. The $1.1 billion DelDOT expects to expend on Sussex County over the upcoming seven years is potentially the largest sum spent on infrastructure for the First State’s biggest county.

In Kent, connecting Rising Sun Road to South Street is high on the priority list, sitting third out of 107 projects on the proposed plan for the next six fiscal years. Related to that is extending North Street to Del. Route 10.

Part of the Camden Bypass, both projects are currently in the preliminary stages, with DelDOT engineers working on drawing up a plan. Construction likely won’t begin for about two years.

The bypass is part of a larger planning study on the south Dover/Camden-Wyoming area that will include a potential widening of U.S. Route 13 to six lanes.

From left, Gov. John Carney and Secretary of Transportation Jennifer Cohan with Mark Alexander, director of maintenance and operations at Tuesday’s press conference in Dover. (Special to the Delaware State News/Gary Emeigh)

The agency is also planning road improvements on Kenton Road from Forrest Avenue/Del. Route 8 to Chestnut Grove Road, a span of about 1.2 miles. Improvements could include a roundabout and a new traffic light, although construction is not scheduled to start for four years.

All the improvements will pay off in a big way, officials said.

“When companies or businesses want to either come to Delaware or relocate in Delaware, they want quality of life, they qualified workforce and they want state-of-the-art transportation. And any of you who drive in other states routinely know that, well, we’re doing really well here in Delaware,” Ms. Cohan said.

A Kent County resident, she’s particularly partial to the grade-separated interchanges in southern Kent, which are intended to reduce congestion and ease travel.

Passing the current capital bond bill was a hassle. Angry at House Democrats debating a minimum wage increase around 3:30 a.m. on July 1, Republicans in the chamber refused to vote on the bond bill.

Democrats and Republicans spent the next two hours in closed door meetings, trying to salvage the situation so the General Assembly could pass the capital spending plan and conclude the legislative session. They eventually reached a deal, and the bond bill ended up passing with no votes against.

Now, with plenty of funding available, DelDOT keeps moving along.

“I need to start off just by saying how impressed that I am with the creativity that we’re seeing here, with the focus on doing things differently and more efficiently, with the focus on doing things better and for less money,” Gov. John Carney said.

DelDOT product specialist Venkata Patlolla showS Gov. John Carney a new program that tracks DART buses Monday. (Special to the Delaware State News/Gary Emeigh)

 

Reach staff writer Matt Bittle at mbittle@newszap.com

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