Work begins on Little Heaven Del. 1 project

FREDERICA — Greater safety, job creation and economic development opportunities.

Those are some great benefits associated with the $40 million Del. 1 Little Heaven Separated Intersection Project designed to improve traffic flow toward Delaware’s beaches when its completed in 34 months.

The project’s official groundbreaking ceremony came at the side of the highway Monday morning, which also served to promote the Delaware’s access to a $330 million increase in Transportation Trust Fund revenue in the next six years.

After Gov. Jack Markell requested and the Delaware General Assembly approved a package of revenue increases and borrowing in June, the Delaware Department of Transportation had the means to move forward with nearly 100 transportation improvement projects over six years.

It seems DelDOT now has resources to go full bore to meet its slogan goal of “Making strides to improve your ride,” that was created by Maintenance & Operations Division administrative assistant Terri Stoakley.

According to DelDOT Secretary Jennifer Cohan in a news release, the slogan will be seen at various projects throughout the state.

“We want our customers, the residents of Delaware and our guests, to understand that, although road projects might cause short-term delays, we are working for the long-term safety and efficiency of the state’s transportation network.

“We are ‘Making strides to improve your ride.’ “

U.S. Sen. Chris Coons, D-Del., anticipates the first time he and his family travel to the beach on a summer Friday afternoon and notice the stop and go traffic at least lessened by Delaware’s more efficient roadway investments.

“We’ve been blessed with thousands of more visitors than we can handle,” Sen. Coons said, extolling the virtues of out-of-staters visiting Delaware.

The future service roads and a highway bridge over Bowers Beach Road in Little Heaven is one of 10 active projects on the Del. 1 corridor in Kent and Sussex counties.

Speaker of the House Rep. Pete Schwartzkopf, D-Rehoboth Beach, received praise from Gov. Jack Markell for pushing the legislation needed to gather the package, along with state Rep. Trey Paradee, D-Cheswold, Rep. Jack Peterman, R-Milford, and Sen. Colin Bonini, R-Dover. Sen. Schwartzkopf noted Rep. William J. “Bill” Carson, D-Smyrna, for his contribution as Transportation Committee chairman.

Said Rep. Schwartzkopf in a news release, “Here at Little Heaven, the safety improvements and the jobs created are obvious, and you don’t have to look hard to see how important these improvements to our Route 1 corridor are to Delaware’s economy, especially the coastal communities I represent.”

DelDOT area engineer Craig Blowers said any lane closures during construction will occur during off-peak hours for drivers, not disrupting travel to and from work and weekend trips. The closures will be intermittent and brief, he said, typically covering a day or two at the most.

“We’re trying to bring as little disruption as possible to the everyday traffic patterns here and limit any potential congestion or slowdowns,” Mr. Blowers said.

The Little Heaven project has begun with utility relocation and Kent County sewer work, with A-Del Construction of Newark set to begin its work on Monday, officials said. The first step will be to replace crossroad pipes with concrete ones at the northern end of the project.

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Reach staff writer Craig Anderson at canderson@newszap.com

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