Millsboro railroad project to close Del. 24 intersections

Delmarva Central Railroad’s crossing upgrade in Millsboro will cause street closures downtown. The project is slated to begin the evening of Oct. 1, possibly through the morning of Oct. 12. (Delaware State News/Glenn Rolfe)

MILLSBORO — Information has been announced regarding a railroad crossing upgrade in early October that will require a week to 10-day closure of one of the primary east/west arteries through the heart of Millsboro.

Closure at the Main Street/Washington Street crossings at the Del. 24 split intersecting Monroe Street and Railroad Avenue is scheduled to begin the evening of Oct. 1 and possibly run through 5 a.m. Oct. 12.

“So, that’s about 11 days, weather-dependent. We’ve always got to remember, weather-dependent,” said William Conway, senior vice president for Century Engineering, which is Delaware Department of Transportation’s consultant for rail projects.

“The contractor is committed. They are going to work 24/7 around the clock … multiple shifts,” said Mr. Conway in a Sept. 8 presentation to Millsboro Town Council and town officials. “You will be very impressed, I think, when you see the staff and the equipment that they bring.”

At its August meeting, council voted 7-0 in approving the requested 24-hour contractor work, which is projected to reduce the project timeline from 14 days to eight to 10.

The Delmarva Central Railroad project includes:
• New warning signals and shorter crossing gates.
• At-grade crossing surface with full-depth concrete decking.
• Americans With Disabilities Act-complaint sidewalks across the tracks and on the north and side of the crossing.
• Installation of a concrete median area.
• Additional inlets to reduce water ponding on roadway at crossing.
• Paving/striping on both sides of the crossing.

The project also includes removal of an existing sidewalk in the current median.

The proposed railroad crossing upgrade at Washington Street/Main Street in Millsboro. The new crossings are signified by white rectangles; new paving is in darker shading with striping in white. (Delaware State News/Glenn Rolfe)

Full-depth concrete decking was chosen for longevity. “We don’t want to be back here for a very long time,” Mr. Conway said.

Millsboro’s project is one of nine Delmarva Central Railroad crossing improvements in Delaware and Maryland.

It encompasses the busy east/west corridor through the town, which even during normal traffic flow often experiences massive backups. Del. 24 includes the downtown business district and is the eastern gateway to the Mountaire Farms processing plant and further east to Rehoboth Beach and the coastal area. To the west, it intersects with DuPont Boulevard (U.S. 113).

The plan is for regional notification of the closure 10 days in advance. Target notification areas are Del. 24/26, U.S. 113/Dagsboro Road, Long Neck, southern Georgetown and other locations “to let people know that (Del.) 24 is closing at the railroad crossing at a certain date,” Mr. Conway said.

Closure Oct. 1 is slated to begin at approximately 9 p.m. or after the last train goes through town, possibly around 7, Mr. Conway said. The crossing is scheduled to reopen no later than 5 a.m. Oct. 12, possibly sooner.

Intermittent lane closures may be needed after Oct. 12 to perform punch list work.

Flaggers will be on both sides of the crossing 24/7 during work, Mr. Conway said.

Millsboro town manager Sheldon Hudson asked if the contractor’s schedule has a built-in cushion for weather setbacks.

“I would say maybe a day. It is an aggressive schedule. They will work through the rain,” said Mr. Conway. “I’m confident, but the weather has to cooperate. It depends when we get the (inclement) weather. So, if we get the weather at the end when we are going to stripe or something like that, it is going to cause an impact.”

Mr. Conway said planning will involve the Millsboro Police Department on traffic flow strategies.

“We understand the impact of closing this road,” said Mr. Conway. “We know people are going to come down here. People have to come down here. It is just managing the traffic safely.”