Super loads arriving for West Dover Connector

A shipment of a 190-foot long pre-cast bridge beams, destined for the West Dover Connector, travels on South Saulsbury Road in west Dover on Wednesday. (Delaware State News/Marc Clery)

A shipment of a 190-foot long pre-cast bridge beams, destined for the West Dover Connector, travels on South Saulsbury Road in west Dover on Wednesday. (Delaware State News/Marc Clery)

DOVER — Judging by the enormous size of the trailer being pulled by a semi-truck down Scarborough Road Wednesday afternoon, it’s obvious that big things are on the way when it comes to the Department of Transportation’s West Dover Connector project.

The first of several scheduled super loads that will take place within the next month for the project arrived in Dover just a little past 1 p.m. Wednesday, not long after high winds swept through the city.

Two more loads arrived later in the afternoon.

DelDOT contractor Mumford & Miller Concrete Inc., of Middletown, will receive multiple shipments of pre-cast beams from Northeast Prestressed Products LLC in Pottsville, Pennsylvania, until July 6.

“We’re going to have shipments arriving on various days for both the Norfolk Southern Railroad and sections of Puncheon Run Creek over near New Burton Road and we’re going to build a bridge that crosses both the railroad and the creek,” said Greg Layton, community relations officer for DelDOT.

The shipments themselves are a sight to behold and typically will include the use of two tractor-trailers. The maximum load length will be

Delaware State Police escort a shipment of a 190-foot long pre-cast bridge beams as it travels on South Saulsbury Road in west Dover on Wednesday. The beams were shipped from Pottsville, Pennsylvania. (Delaware State News/Marc Clery)

Delaware State Police escort a shipment of a 190-foot long pre-cast bridge beams as it travels on South Saulsbury Road in west Dover on Wednesday. The beams were shipped from Pottsville, Pennsylvania. (Delaware State News/Marc Clery)

190 feet and the heaviest load will be 234,500 pounds.

It is a large piece of the puzzle that is the $38 million West Dover Connector Project, which is designed to alleviate congested traffic and expected to be completed by next summer.

Rob Vetter, executive director for the Dover/Kent County Metropolitan Planning Organization, said the connector has been on his organization’s radar for the past decade.

“I think it’s going to greatly improve access to downtown [Dover], access to Route 13 and to other areas of the city,” Mr. Vetter said. “I think obviously the need was identified years and years ago and so I think it’s going to be a help with traffic flow.”

The 3.2-mile-long road will go from the Eden Hill Commercial Center to the south end of Rodney Village, next to Brecknock Park, with no lights or stop signs to delay travel.

Traffic lights at both ends of the connector will help control flow.

The roadway will also have exits and entrances at New Burton and Wyoming Mill roads. It will include one lane in each direction, a grassy median and shoulder paths for bicycles.

“I think it’s going to improve bicycle and production access, too,” Mr. Vetter said. “It will be nice when you can get to Schutte Park from Camden on your bike. That will be pretty cool.”

DelDOT officials have projected that more than 19,000 vehicles will take the West Dover Connector in lieu of other roads by 2035.

“I see it as an economic development tool which will grant us access to the western industrial parts of the city of Dover,” Dover Mayor Robin Christiansen said during the February 2015 groundbreaking. “It’ll join Camden with us and provide an easy access around the city.”

As for the upcoming month, the mammoth shipments for the project will continue.

Delaware State Police and DelDOT personnel will accompany the oversized loads with temporary road blocks and will provide intersection control along the routes.

The shipments will take place between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. on various weekdays and require temporary daytime closures of the northbound and southbound lanes of the Roth Bridge on Del. 1 in the form of rolling roadblocks.

DelDOT said the closures are a permit requirement by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, which maintains the Roth Bridge, and will also take place on Monday; Tuesday; June 20 through June 23; June 27 through June 30; July 5 and July 6.

The shipments are not weather dependent and no loads will be permitted on Fridays, Saturdays or Sundays and during the Firefly Music Festival June 15 through June 19.

Delaware State News staff writer Mike Finney can be reached at mfinney@newszap.com.

You are encouraged to leave relevant comments but engaging in personal attacks, threats, online bullying or commercial spam will not be allowed. All comments should remain within the bounds of fair play and civility. (You can disagree with others courteously, without being disagreeable.) Feel free to express yourself but keep an open mind toward finding value in what others say. To report abuse or spam, click the X in the upper right corner of the comment box.