Sussex Lawmakers Send Governor New 113 Bypass Plan - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Reported by Michael Lopardi

Sussex Lawmakers Send Governor New 113 Bypass Plan

Updated:

MILLSBORO, Del. - State lawmakers from Sussex County have thrown bipartisan support behind a new proposal for a controversial bypass off Route 113.

In a letter to Gov. Jack Markell, 12 members of the House and Senate are calling for a reduced bypass to start at Route 113 north of Millsboro, travel southeast and end near the Mountaire Poultry Plant. The bypass would stop at Route 24.
 
This latest proposal eliminates any bypass route south of Millsboro and would come with upgrades to the existing Route 113 highway.
 
Markell put the brakes on the initial bypass plan, one that traveled from Millsboro to Frankford, last winter due to heavy opposition. The governor gave the Sussex delegation until June 30 to come up with a plan lawmakers could support.
 
"We met with the governor and out of that meeting, I think he wanted some idea where the Sussex delegation wanted to go with this," said Sen. George Bunting, D-Bethany Beach.
 
In the letter dated May 10, the delegation said the project should be broken up into smaller components so it can be completed more quickly and efficiently. Lawmakers also said upgrades should begin first at the southern end of Route 113 and move north, noting several crashes on the southern stretch of road.
 
"To be honest, on a Friday night I don't even think of coming into town because of having to cross 113 and the traffic and the lights and the trucks," said Peg Buzzelli of Millsboro.
 
Buzzelli said she supports a bypass to get trucks out of downtown Millsboro but would also like to see existing infrastructure upgraded.
 
"I think the full length bypass would've made sense," said Millsboro businessman David Mayer. "It would've gotten people going both north and south around the area. But halfway bypass doesn't make any sense at all."
 
The original bypass plan presented by the Delaware Department of Transportation was estimated to cost nearly $1 billion. Many farmers opposed the project out of fear of losing agriculture land.
 
Frustration grew when reports surfaced that DelDOT is paying some developers thousands of dollars to not build on land in anticipation of the proposed route. Last week, DelDOT announced it is contractually required to keep paying some of those builders.
 
Supporters said something must be done to alleviate growing traffic congestion, especially in the Millsboro area. DelDOT previously said some intersections along Route 113 will fail in the next 30 years if nothing is done.
 
House Majority Leader Rep. Pete Schwartzkopf, D-Rehoboth Beach, said it is now up to the DelDOT to take the latest ideas and turn them into a formal proposal.
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