Officials celebrate completed Del. 1 project in Little Heaven

LITTLE HEAVEN — More roadside lighting is needed and speeders imperil walkers along the newly-configured stretch, Edwin Dooley believes.

“Outside of that, it’s great,” he said Tuesday morning.
He applauded the noticeably lighter traffic passing by his High Point Park home.

The now-completed Del. 1 Little Heaven Grade Separated Intersection project has significantly reduced danger near the congested highway to and from Delaware’s beaches, he said.

After sunset, Mr. Dooley often grabs a flashlight and walks down “nice sidewalks” to visit the nearby Valero store.

“I carry it to help avoid getting hit because a lot of vehicles fly down the road,” he said. “I’ve already seen one near-accident and Delaware State Police here to monitor the speeds.
“All in all, though, this is a good thing.”

For nearby resident Cynthia Newton, the local access road rarely seems busy except during the Delaware State Fair in Harrington. She figures traffic will increase as motorists become more accustomed to the route.

Ms. Newton is concerned about possible commercial development that could follow, but likes easily entering and exiting the highway via ramps without backtracking or crossing over before oncoming traffic.
“Weekend traffic can still crawl through Sunday but generally I see the flow as improved,” she said.

The evolving 16-year vision that took 18 months and $44 million to construct eliminated all area traffic signals in Kent County. Six other intersections were eliminated.

Elected officials, project team members and Delaware Department of Transportation Secretary Jennifer Cohan celebrated the progress with a late morning ribbon cutting ceremony.

Secretary Cohan aims to continue similar improvements statewide, and referenced the recently-completed Northeast Front Street “Gateway to Milford” just south of Little Heaven, and the Christina Bridge into Wilmington..

Officials cut the ribbon.

Said Delaware Gov. John Carney, “The investments that our state continues to make in its transportation infrastructure are paying off for Delawareans and our visitors alike.

“Projects like the Little Heaven grade-separated intersection not only ease the flow of traffic, but they also make our communities more livable and attractive to business. The money that we spend on our roads is a direct investment in our quality of life.”

The new overpass replaced the intersection and traffic signal at Del. 1 and Bowers Beach Road to improve safety and traffic flow on the highway corridor, DelDOT said in a news release.

“In its previous configuration, the intersection caused lengthy backups on Del. 1 during summertime beach traffic while exposing turning traffic to the risk of side-impact crashes.

“Del. 1 now crosses over Bowers Beach Road, allowing traffic to continue north and south without stopping, while pedestrian and local traffic is maintained on the new ramps and service roads.”

The project began in November 2015 and involved more than 650 acres along almost three miles of Del. 1. A-Del Construction, Inc., of Newark, led the construction process. DelDOT Area Engineer Craig Blowers was the project manager.

More information on Del. 1 projects, including Little Heaven, is online at deldot.gov/information/projects/sr1/.

Reach the Delaware State News newsroom at newsroom@newszap.com

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