MPO approves roadwork project list for Kent County

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MPO members discuss transportation projects at their bimonthly meeting Wednesday. (Delaware State News/Matt Bittle )

CAMDEN — Members of the Dover/Kent County Metropolitan Planning Organization Council met Wednesday and voted on the list of projects they will recommend to the Department of Transportation.

Some of the 23 projects, including seven of the top eight, are already in DelDOT’s Capital Transportation Plan, a six-year program listing the hundreds of planned transportation-related projects across the state.

DelDOT will not begin work on the new projects approved by the MPO Wednesday for several years, due to a backlog of existing projects.

The MPO crafted its ranking based on experimentation with the software program Decision Lens, which is also used by DelDOT. The program allows participants to input criteria and weight them. It then spits out an ordered list based on the categories.

A working group of the MPO’s Technical Advisory Committee provided their rankings, choosing to place the most emphasis on how projects coordinate with state planning, how they fit with other types of transportation and how safe they are.

Projects were then re-ordered from the MPO-generated initial list based on the Decision Lens rankings, which the MPO unanimously approved.

Some projects saw big jumps or falls from the first list, while others remained more static.

The council’s top recommended project would extend Crawford Carroll Road Avenue behind Lowe’s and then connect with a relocated entrance to the Dover Mall. It would add a second light on U.S. 13, allowing for easier pedestrian crossings, particularly for Delaware State University students.

That project is already on DelDOT’s schedule, but it is far down the road. Construction is not set to begin until fiscal year 2020.

Other highly ranked MPO projects that DelDOT already has scheduled include the Northeast Front Street grade-separated intersection in Milford, the Camden Bypass and improvements to Dover’s Forest Street. The Forest Street improvements would place a roundabout at the intersection of Loockerman Street and Forest Street, provide a new gateway where Forest and Division streets meet and make the roadways safer for pedestrians.

Construction for the Forest Street improvements is scheduled to begin in fiscal year 2020.

The top project among the 23 passed Wednesday that is not in the current CTP is an upgrade to Front Street from Rehoboth Beach to Milford to allow for better drainage and pedestrian and cyclist access.

MPO members noted the South Frederica intersection will be advertised later this month and a groundbreaking for the Little Heaven intersection is set for Monday.

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