Route 26 Widening Looks to Address Congestion - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Route 26 Widening Looks to Address Congestion

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BETHANY BEACH, Del.- Gov. Jack Markell paid a visit to the Route 26 construction site Thursday to evaluate the multi-million dollar widening project. This project began Jan. 6, Thursday marked the governor's official launching of the project, which will cost $35 million. 

In a speech, Markell emphasized that tourists have multiple choices in where to vacation. He said in order to keep them visiting southern Delaware, they need to widen Route 26. Many businesses on that road agree the project will be worthwhile when it's finished. However, some have concerns over the congestion that will be caused during the period of construction this summer. 

Beth Rogers, the owner of Country Wicker on Route 26, remembered what happened during the construction project on Route 54 years earlier, where she said the congestion problems were severe. She also lamented about the multiple delays that kept the traffic continuing for years on end. She said she wanted to be sure this wasn't replicated with Route 26. 

"We don't want to see traffic backed up forever and long rests in between," she said. "If they make them sit longer than five minutes, people get frustrated."

The project will widen a stretch of road between the Assawoman Canal, and the Clarksville area. In total, this will widen 4.14 miles of road, adding a turning lane, bike lanes, and in many areas sidewalks.  

Markell said they are more prepared than they were for the 54 project. 

"Whenever you do these projects, you learn something..." he said. "And I was so encouraged by the turnout today. Lot of people from the community came, and now they know exactly how they can get in touch with the design team, with the construction team.

Ken Cimino from AECOM, the engineering firm overlooking the project, said they were taking actions to address these concerns. He said regulating lane closures was one of their priorities to maintain a constant flow of cars during the summer. 

"From May 15 to Sept. 30 during the day, the contractor will not be allowed to have any lane closures," he said.

He also said they would try to stay to their scheduled 901 calendar days of work. Cimino said this could of course be changed, depending on the level of snow and rain.

There will be one period between January and March of 2015, when road crews will be forced to shut down all lanes to replace bridges on the thoroughfare.

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