South Frederica Interchange at DE Turf opens

The long awaited crossover bridge and entry ramp south of Frederica has finally opened enabling drivers much safer access to Del. 1. Special to the Delaware State News/Gary Emeigh

FREDERICA — The oh, so long awaited pathway for safe travel in and out of DE Turf opened Tuesday.

The $18 million South Frederica grade-separated intersection between Del. 1 and Del. 12 (Frederica Road) provides easier access to and departure from the multi-purpose sports complex, which backers stressed for years was crucial to the project’s business model and forecasted millions of dollars of local economic impact annually.

The Delaware Department of Transportation announced the interchange’s new availability and noted that work continues on a connection between the new Milford Neck Road and current Milford Neck Road.

Also, Del. 1 crossovers will be removed for good as final paving on side roads, ramps and the highway by Newark-based A-Del Construction will continue.

Permanent signage for motorists to follow must also be erected, DelDOT said.

While traffic is now flowing in the area, the entire project is scheduled for completion by late summer, DelDOT said. A formal ceremony will be held then, the state said.

This DE Turf map shows the new traffic patterns into the sports complex south of Frederica along Del. 1.

DE Turf Board of Directors Chairman Bill Strickland drove through the intersection on its first day, making the short trip that’s destined to positively affect Kent County for years to come.

“It was hard to believe it’s an actuality and is now open when a lot of years were spent chasing the concept that had an uncertain future,” Mr. Strickland said.

“Without the interchange there would be no DE Turf, period. So, yes, it is a big deal, a very big deal.

“Now we’re very pleased about what the county will realize as far as economic impact that this will continue to bring as it continues to grow.”

Once DelDOT approved the construction project, DE Turf’s own construction plans came to fruition when the complex opened on Easter weekend last year..

The only way to the complex now is through the newly built interchange, which may take some getting used to. The temporary entrance to the complex from Del. 1 northbound will be permanently closed, DelDOT said.

“DelDOT has variable message boards in place to help traffic adjust to new patterns and assist in directing event related traffic to the DE Turf Complex,” a news release said.

The quest to grow the DE Turf business model continues on, Mr. Strickland said. The ever-evolving sports facility is now finalizing corporate sponsors for all its fields and working with DelDOT for a park and ride station at the south end of the complex.

“We’re challenged to provide enough parking spaces, which is a good problem to have, because of the success of the complex so far,” Mr. Strickland said. “We must continue to find ways to better accommodate our visitors who travel here, which is a never-ending process.”

Reach staff writer Craig Anderson at canderson@newszap.com

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