DelDOT plan to Address Traffic Concerns Gets Mixed Reaction - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

DelDOT plan to Address Traffic Concerns Gets Mixed Reaction

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MILFORD, Del. - Richard May said driving near his home in the summer can be chaotic.

He lives in the stretch along Route One, in between Front Street and 10th Street. Over the last three years, those two intersections have seen 39 crashes.

"I've been here for all these years," May said. "And it's not been this bad. And it just keeps getting worse. And the only way something is going to happen is for somebody to get killed."

It is due to these perceived safety concerns that many neighbors like May have been calling for a major Overpass project for years. However, the state has responded that this is not only costly, but also lower on the priority list, due to other more pressing projects.

However amidst neighbor concerns, The Department of Transportation is proposing a temporary fix, while they wait for funding.

Mark Luszcz, the Assistant Director of Transportation for DelDOT said that the proposal would restrict access at those trouble intersections, by blocking "cross-traffic." Additionally, northbound drivers would no longer be able to turn left onto NE Front Street, and southbound drivers would not be able to turn left onto NE 10th Street.

"Our observations and anecdotal evidence from locals out there lined up with our data," Luszcz said. "To say we have a problem we may want to address."

Luszcz said that this temporary fix, would be relatively inexpensive, and would take only a couple of months to complete, compared to the much larger overpass project. He said DelDOT would hold additional meetings with emergency personnel as well as public workshops, before taking any action.

Luszcz said the agency would only act if they had a "consensus" with the public, the town and emergency personnel.

At the Hitchens Tire Service on Front Street, Owner Chum Hitchens said the plan would disrupt his business.

"It's definitely going to impact the people coming down New Wharf Road," he said. "I don't think it needs to be blocked off totally."

Hitchens has also argued against the costly overpass, arguing that this would be a lot of money spent on a cross-street he doesn't consider a top priority.

Even some advocates for the overpass have voiced concerns with the proposed plan. Emmett Venett has been arguably one of the most vocal supporters of the overpass. He said he was glad DelDOT was trying to address the safety issue, but he said blocking cross-traffic wasn't the answer.

"Now they want to change the traffic pattern," he said. "To make it safer, but also to drive us farther away from the city."

At this point, no money has been allocated for construction of the overpass project. However funding has been allocated to begin the process of securing right-of-way rights needed for the project.

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